When skin cells become mutated from their original state, skin cancer might be a result. So what causes skin cancer? The most notable reason is ultraviolet light (UV) rays. These UV rays can damage the genetic structure of your skin cells and cause mutations. These mutated skin cells then multiply rapidly, causing a clump of cancer cells.
Skin Cancer Risk Factors
There are several risk factors associated with the development of skin cancer cells. These are almost always connected with too much sun exposure and the skin’s absorption of UV rays.
Prolonged exposure to sunlight, especially in the summer months can be a risk factor. This is true especially for people with fair skin. The darker the skin type, the better the skin’s ability to block UV rays from being absorbed by the skin. People who work outdoors are the most in jeopardy, especially if they are fair-skinned and don’t wear UV protection in the form of a sunblock lotion.
Tanning beds have sun lamps that give off large levels of UV rays that are absorbed quickly by the skin. If you get regular tans using sunbeds like so many do in the summer months, you are placing yourself at risk for developing skin cancer.
Exposure to chemicals can be another risk factor. When the skin is exposed to certain industrial-level chemicals, the skin cells might mutate. People who use harsh chemicals used in industrial-level cleaning, the oil industry and chemical production industries are at risk. Proper protective attire must be worn at all times when coming in contact with these chemicals.
A weak immune system can add to the risk of developing skin cancer when just one of the other risk factors is added to the equation. If you have had previous radiation therapy, your immune system is just not as strong as it once was. Any disease or health condition that lowers the strength of the immune system along with UV ray absorption puts you at risk.
Rare genetic conditions can be another risk factor for developing skin cancer. Melanoma is a skin cancer that begins in the cells in the skin that produce melanin. This genetic mutation leads to cancer cells developing, especially if the skin is exposed to UV rays.
When to See a Doctor
If any of these risk factors apply to you, remain alert to the condition of your skin. If you notice any warts, discolorations or lumps on your skin that you find disturbing, get them checked out by our professionals at Rao Dermatology, with offices in Manhattan, Atlantic Highlands, Fresno and Hanford. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.