Many things can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, from the amount of time you spend in the sun to your family history.
But how do these factors actually trigger skin cancer? Keep reading to learn more!
Exposure to the Sun
One of the most well-known triggers of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.
These UV rays can damage the DNA in your skin cells, which can lead to cancerous changes. When the DNA in your skin cells is damaged, it starts to produce abnormal cells. These abnormal cells can grow out of control and form a tumor.
This is why it's so important to wear sunscreen and limit your time in the sun, especially during the midday hours when the sun's rays are the strongest.
If you have a history of sunburns, you're also at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. So, you need to take extra care to protect your skin if you've had sunburns in the past.
This includes wearing sunscreen, staying in the shade, and wearing protective clothing, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors.
Another trigger of skin cancer is a family history of the disease. If you have a parent or sibling who has had skin cancer, you're more likely to develop it yourself. This is because you may inherit genes that make you more susceptible to the disease.
If you have a family history of skin cancer, you should talk to your doctor about what steps you can take to reduce your risk. You may need to have regular skin exams and take extra precautions to protect your skin from the sun.
While exposure to the sun and family history are some of the most common triggers of skin cancer, there are other triggers as well. These include:
- Immune system suppression. If you have a weakened immune system, you're more likely to develop skin cancer. This can be due to a medical condition, such as cancer or HIV/AIDS, or treatments, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
- Certain chemicals. People exposed to certain chemicals, such as arsenic or coal tar, have an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
- Ulcers or wounds. These are scars or wounds that haven't healed properly. If you have a long-standing ulcer or wound, you may be at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
If you're concerned about your risk of skin cancer, talk to your doctor. They can help you determine what steps you need to take to reduce your risk. And if you have any signs or symptoms of skin cancer, be sure to see a doctor right away. Early detection is key to successful skin cancer treatment.