Just a thought about cancer is enough to run chills down the spine. From diagnosis to treatment, every process becomes a painful reminder that your body is suffering through a disease that has no cure. And if that cancer is skin cancer, it can take over your life not just internally but also imprints your skin to remind you of its presence.
One of the most common types of cancers in the world, skin cancer affects millions of people everywhere. It is also one of the most deadly skin diseases in the world. And the fact that it can happen to anyone, makes it even more horrible. But amongst all this, there is always a better way.
In this article, we are going to talk about the most common causes of skin cancer. By knowing the causes, one can take intentional steps to prevent or at least reduce the chances of skin cancer significantly. But before moving to the causes of skin cancer, let us first know about skin cancer and types of skin cancer:
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is one of the skin diseases in which there is an abnormal growth of skin cells. This anomalous growth of skin cells multiply and form malignant or non-malignant tumours. Here are the three most common types of skin cancer:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma: This type of skin cancer occurs when the skin’s basal cells (the outermost layer of the skin) grow abnormally. Common symptoms may include skin cancer spots that are small, smooth and have waxy bumps on the face or neck. The skin cancer spots can also be flat, pink/red/brown coloured lesions on the arms, or legs.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This type of skin cancer occurs when the skin’s squamous cells (most of the epidermis layer) grow abnormally. Squamous cell carcinoma can look like a firm, red nodule, or as a rough, scaly, flat lesion that may itch, bleed, and become crusty.
- Melanoma: Among all types of skin cancer, Melanoma is the most serious one. It develops in melanocytes cells that produce melanin. This is the pigment that gives your skin its colour. Melanoma can also occur in your eyes, and can also occur inside your body such as the nose or throat. The first signs of melanoma are usually skin cancer moles. But that’s not it. Signs can also change as per melanoma staging. You can talk to a doctor. They will help not only in melanoma staging and find out the suitable melanoma treatment.
If you or any of your loved ones have any of the early signs that look like skin cancer moles or skin cancer rash, immediately find either a dermatologist near me or an oncologist near me
on the internet. You can also consult doctor online and they can help in diagnosing if the skin cancer rash or mole is actually a cancerous symptom or something else.
Top 3 Causes & Risk Factors of Skin Cancer
Most skin cancers occur due to modulation in the immune system or by a mutation in the repair mechanisms. When the immune system is compromised, it can lead to the abnormal growth of cells and formation of tumors.
Till now there are no exact causes of skin cancers as such. There are, however, some risk factors that significantly increase the chances of getting skin cancers. Three of the leading risk factors and causes of skin cancer are as follows:
- Exposure To UV Rays: This is one of the most common causes of skin cancer like basal cell skin cancer and squamous cell skin cancer. As for melanoma, sun rays are not among the common causes of skin cancer of this type. UV rays from the sun can damage the DNA of the skin cells if exposed for a long time. Tanning from the sun can also speed up the effects of ageing and increase your chances of skin diseases like skin cancer.
- Genetics: Genes also play a vital role in skin diseases like skin cancer. For instance, those with one or more parents or siblings with skin cancer have a higher risk of getting skin cancer too. Some inherited conditions such as xeroderma pigmentosum can also increase the risk of developing skin cancers. So, if you have any medical or family history that may indicate any of the above and notice any skin cancer rash or mole, do consult a doctor soon.
- Body: It is believed that those who have fair skin are more likely to get skin cancers than dark-skinned people. This is because such skin has lesser protection from UV radiation and can damage easily. The risk is also higher in people with blond or red hair, green or blue eyes, and skin that burns easily. But there is an exception too. Melanoma occurs usually among people with darker complexions.
Other than these, you should also know about other risk factors to stay aware about such skin diseases:
- Age: The risk of skin cancer increases with age as you are likely to accumulate the damage of UV rays by them. But those who spend a lot of time under the sun can also get skin cancer at an early age.
- Having Unusual Moles: If you have more than 50 ordinary moles means you may have a higher risk of melanoma.
- Weak Immune System: People who have weak immune systems also have higher chances of skin cancer.
- Smoking: Those who smoke are at higher risk of developing squamous cell skin cancers, particularly on the lips.
- Previous Treatment: Sometimes, treatment with radiation also affects your chances of getting skin cancers in the exposed area.
The Bottom Line
Every skin treatment, even a serious one like melanoma treatment, can become more successful if you get the diagnosis done on time. But knowing the causes takes this thing even a step further. It not only encourages you to prevent skin cancer (in case of sun exposure) but also helps you in taking immediate steps when you know your risks are higher. So, you will not just avoid direct exposure to sunlight but also consult a doctor prior if you have any medical history related to skin cancer. All these things can prove effective and even life-saving in case of skin treatment. Remember, knowledge is your first line of defence. To know more about skin cancer, diagnosis, skin treatment, melanoma treatment, or anything else, make sure you contact an experienced oncologist.