According to recent statistics, an alarming 5.4 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. And, if you’re hoping to protect yourself, it’s absolutely essential that you understand the different risks that your environment presents.
In this article, we’ll break down the different causes of skin cancer in easy to understand terms. Keep reading to learn all about how and why this life-threatening condition forms and what you can do to keep yourself safe.
Do you have a parent or sibling who’s a skin cancer survivor? If so, you may be at an increased risk. This is also true if you’ve been previously diagnosed with cancer of any kind, but individuals who have had skin cancer have the highest chances of developing the disease again.
Some inherited conditions like xeroderma pigmentosum negatively impact the skin’s ability to recover from UV damage. This also increases the risk of developing skin cancer and may cause them to develop at an earlier age.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that UV exposure is among the primary skin cancer causes. That’s why it’s so essential to wear sunscreen daily.
Lifestyle can greatly add to your chances of developing skin cancer, especially if you work outdoors or spend multiple hours each day in the sun. But, UV rays can sneakily impact your skin when you least expect it, even during winter. Read more here to learn about your personal risk factors.
Other lifestyle choices can affect your healthy skin and potentially cause cancer, including smoking, exposure to chemicals, and excessive alcohol consumption.
The risk for all cancers increases as you age, and skin cancer is no exception! Frequent sunburns and prolonged UV exposure as a child can also increase your chances as an adult.
Believe it or not, gender is also a factor. Men are twice as likely to develop basal cell carcinomas and three times as likely to develop squamous cell carcinomas as women.
Some medical conditions and treatments that weaken the immune system, including viruses, diseases and immune suppression therapy, may also increase skin cancer risks.
Preventing skin cancer is about more than just caring for your skin. You should also visit a dermatologist regularly and keep an eye on any freckles or moles that seem to be changing in appearance.
This is especially true for individuals with fair skin, as skin cancer is far more prevalent among caucasians.
Preventing the Causes of Skin Cancer
Now that you know more about the various causes of skin cancer, you’re ready to take action. Keep in mind, wearing sunscreen isn’t enough! You should consider all of your risk factors and make changes to your lifestyle to lower your chances.
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