Common Causes of Skin Cancer

Doctor uses magnifying glass to examine mole if it is a skin cancer

April 9, 2016

One of the most common forms of cancer is skin cancer. It is caused when changes occur in the skin cell’s DNA. These mutations cause the cells to produce rapidly and then form masses of cancerous cells. There are quite a few types of skin cancer that can be prevented. The more a person learns about skin cancer, the more likely they are to protect themselves and those they love.

Sun Exposure

Most people enjoy feeling the warm sun on their face and body. It feels good, and the way it tans a person’s skin makes them look good. Unfortunately, this love affair with the sun can cause early aging. Ultraviolet light from the sun damages elastin.

When the elastin in the skin begins to break down, it weakens the skin and causes it to stretch and sag. It causes the skin to take longer to heal and bruise more easily. Exposure to the sun can cause precancerous and cancerous skin lesions. These mutations occur in the skin cells’ DNA.

Sun exposure also causes fine lines and wrinkles, freckles, benign tumors, discolored areas of the skin and the dilation of blood vessels under the skin.

There are three main types of skin cancer. These include squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. When non-melanoma skin cancers are treated early, they can be cured. Melanoma is the most serious form of cancer and even causes death. If it goes untreated, it can spread to other organs in the body.

Skin cancer is usually a result of ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun. However, the UV light that is used in tanning beds is just as harmful to the skin.

Other Causes and Risk Factors

There are many factors that increase a person’s chances of getting skin cancer. Other causes include exposure to radiation and substances like arsenic.

It is important for individuals to be aware of risk factors. For example, individuals who have fair skin and sunburn easily are much more likely to develop skin cancer than individuals who have dark skin and hair. If a person has had blistering sunburns in the past, particularly when they were a child or teenager, their risk of developing skin cancer increases.

Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time in the sun or using tanning beds is at a higher risk. Having a lot of moles or abnormal moles increases a person’s chances since moles can become cancerous. It is important for individuals to monitor these moles for changes.

Learn All the Facts

When it comes to skin cancer, knowledge is power. This knowledge will enable you to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you have any concerns, would like a skin exam or have noticed changes in your skin, it is important to make an appointment as soon as possible with a medical professional at Torrey Pines Dermatology & Laser Center in La Jolla. We can evaluate your skin and help you determine an effective treatment option if one is needed. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment.

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