What Causes Skin Cancer? Here Are 10 Things You Really Should Know

If you are looking for what causes skin cancer, you will find there is a lot of information available on the internet, some of which is incorrect. To protect your skin, you need to be sure you know fact from fiction.

Here are the top 10 tips on what causes skin cancer everyone should be aware of –

Skin Cancer In Children

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, as a young child, a single sunburn that is severe enough to cause blisters can more than double the risk of developing a malignant melanoma later in life. Think you’re safe if you have only had mild sunburns? Getting just five mild sunburns will also double the odds. Keep babies under 6 months old completely out of the sun and use a broad spectrum sunscreen on babies over 6 months.

Cancer Causing Chemicals

Environmental chemicals such as coal tar pitch and petroleum products can cause photo-sensitisation, a condition where skin is more sensitive to UV light. Some plants may contain psoralens, chemicals that increase photo-sensitivity. When any of these chemicals come in contact with the skin, they weaken its protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

Sunscreen Facts – A False Security?

Sunscreen makes us feel invincible to the sun’s powers. However, improper use decreases the protection it provides. According to experts, most people do not use enough sunscreen or apply it as often as needed for optimum protection. Furthermore, sunscreen does not block all of the sun’s harmful rays. Time in the sun should be limited even if sunscreen is being used. Even though sunscreen is more widely used than it used to be, failure to use it properly and limit exposure to the sun has led to an increase in skin cancer rates.

Is skin Cancer Hereditary?

If you inherited fair skin, light eyes and a propensity to freckle from your parents, you are more prone to sunburn even with minimal exposure to the sun. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that each bout of sunburn increases your risk of being diagnosed with melanoma.

Smoking and Skin Cancer

According to researchers in the Netherlands, smokers are 3.3 times more likely than their non-smoking peers to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Kicking the habit dropped the risk to 1.9 times higher than a non-smoker. The study showed a direct relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked daily and risk. It is believed that reduced oxygen in the blood stream and the toxic chemicals in the smoke damage skin. Smoking may also inhibit the immune system, leaving the body more vulnerable to cancer.

Tanning Beds and Skin Cancer

Your skin isn’t the only part of your body that needs protection from harmful rays. Tanning beds have been linked to ocular melanoma, a rare form of eye cancer. If you absolutely must use a tanning bed, protect your eyes with the goggles supplied. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that offer good quality UV protection. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) now confirms that any form of UV tanning is definitely carcinogenic to humans and believes it is a major factor in what causes skin cancer.

Is Sunscreen Safe?

While written warnings are supposed to be on products with cancer-causing substances, the FDA does not regulate personal care or cosmetic products. Some sunscreens do contain chemicals that are believed to be carcinogenic. Studies have shown that the ingredients may have an affect women’s hormones, a particular concern for breast cancer sufferers who’s tumors are receptive to estrogen.

Why Regular Dental Checkups Are Important

When you go in for dental checkups, the dentist is looking at more than just your teeth. He is also looking for conditions such as leukoplakia and erythropakia. These oral lesions cause thick white patches (leukoplakia) and red sore areas (erythroplakia) in the mouth that do not scrape off when rubbed or scraped. While mostly these are not cancerous, some cases can signal a potential for oral cancer.

Glass and Sunlight

Most window glass blocks only UV-B rays, not UV-A. While you may not see the burn, the UV-A rays penetrate deeper into skin, causing hidden damage. Some specialists are now recommending the use of broad spectrum sunscreen if you plan to be in the car longer than twenty minutes.

Hairy Moles!

In general, removing hair from a mole is considered safe. However, care must be taken to not irritate the mole or cause a sore. If you choose to remove hair from a mole, watch for changes afterwards. If you notice itching, bleeding or irritation, it will need to be examined by a doctor.

by A Hurrell

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