GentleCure Blog

What Causes Basal Cell Skin Cancer?

Dermatologist inspecting a patient's skin

Basal cell skin cancer is a type of skin cancer that originates in the basal cells, a type of skin cell responsible for regenerating new skin. Cancer develops after DNA mutations occur, appearing as a lesion. There are several basal cell skin cancer causes to be aware of, many that are preventable. Protect yourself and your skin with these tips from GentleCure. 

Basal Cell Skin Cancer Causes  

What causes basal cell skin cancer? The biggest risk factors are sunlight exposure and ultraviolet radiation present in tanning beds. Too much light can cause DNA mutations that interrupt the basal cell’s regular cell production, leading to rapid cell development that’s too much for the body to handle. Rather than the routine cycle of cells being pushed to the skin’s surface where they eventually slough off and die, the overabundance of cells get trapped, becoming a cancerous tumor and causing other symptoms

Sunlight and UV are not the only risk factors to consider. Other basal cell skin cancer causes include: 

  • Fair skin: those with pale complexions who freckle or burn easily are often at higher risk for skin cancer. 
  • Advanced age: basal cell skin cancer is more common in older adults since it takes years or even decades for this type of cancer to develop. 
  • Family history: you may be at a higher risk of skin cancer if it runs in your family. 
  • Radiation exposure: if you’ve undergone significant radiation therapy for other conditions, this is important to disclose to your dermatologist. 
  • Immune-suppressing drugs: certain medications can affect your skin’s DNA. 

How to Reduce Your Risk of Basal Cell Skin Cancer

Knowing the basal cell skin cancer causes is only the first step. You can take proactive measures to prevent skin cancer when you: 

  • Wear sunscreen and protective clothing: SPF is not only for the summer. The sun’s harmful effects can be felt year round, so be sure to slather on sunscreen or wear appropriate clothing anytime you plan to be outside for prolonged periods. 
  • Avoid tanning: Tanning beds should be avoided at all costs. Their UV rays are too high and dangerous for people of all complexions. 
  • Receive yearly skin screenings: Visiting your dermatologist on an annual basis helps keep track of changes in your skin’s appearance and health. Early detection is the most important factor for skin cancer survival, so don’t skip these vital visits. 

Find Less Invasive Treatments for Basal Cell Skin Cancer

If you’re facing a basal cell skin cancer diagnosis, you do have treatment options. Image-Guided Superficial Radiotherapy (Image-Guided SRT) is the new non-surgical gold standard for skin cancer treatment, proving to be just as effective as Mohs surgery without cutting or surgical scarring. Learn how it works and reach out to our skin cancer specialists at 855-936-4411 for more information.