Common skin cancers like basal cell skin cancer and squamous cell skin cancer develop when DNA in the skin cells is damaged by ultraviolet (UV) light. The main source of UV light is sunlight, but there are also artificial sources, including sunlamps and tanning beds. Real and artificial UV light rays are the most common causes of common skin cancers.
In this guide, learn more about how UV light causes common forms of skin cancer, as well as some additional risk factors you should be aware of.
Causes of Common Skin Cancers: UV Light
Sunlight contains 3 types of ultraviolet light: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and ultraviolet C (UVC). The Earth’s atmosphere filters out UVC rays, but not UVA or UVB. UVB rays are most closely associated with the development of common forms of skin cancer. However, new research has shown that UVA rays are also capable of damaging skin over time, potentially leading to the development of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers.
Causes of Common Skin Cancers: Risk Factors
UVA and UVB light are the most common causes of common skin cancers, but there are some additional risk factors that can raise a person’s chances of developing one of the forms of this disease:
- Repeated Sun Damage: A history of sunburns can make your skin more susceptible to common forms of skin cancer.
- Weak Immune System: People with a weakened or suppressed immune system are at a higher risk of developing one of several common forms of skin cancer, especially squamous cell skin cancer.
- Fair Skin and Light Features: Individuals with fair skin, freckles, light eyes, and light hair are the most likely to develop one of the common forms of skin cancer. But remember: it can develop in anyone, regardless of their skin color—and early detection always improves outcomes.
- Presence of Precancerous Skin Conditions: Actinic keratoses are rough, scaly patches that develop on the skin due to long-term sun exposure. Left untreated, they can develop into one of several common varieties of skin cancer.
- History of Skin Cancer: People who have had skin cancer (melanoma or otherwise) in the past are at an increased risk to develop it again.
- Medications: Certain medications can make the skin more sensitive to sun damage; talk to your doctor about whether you are at an increased risk for developing skin cancer.
Prevention for Common Forms of Skin Cancer
Sun protection is key to lowering your risk of developing the common forms of skin cancer that we’ve discussed. Review these quick facts to be proactive and help prevent skin cancer:
- Avoid direct sun exposure between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
- Wear a wide-brim hat, sunglasses, and clothing that provides good coverage from the sun.
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Do not tan your skin in the sun.
- Stay away from sunlamps and tanning beds.
Know Your Treatment Options
If you or a loved one were to develop basal or squamous cell skin cancer, early detection and treatment are essential. Start exploring your treatment options today and learn more about Image-Guided SRT. This surgery-free alternative to traditional treatments uses ultrasound images and X-ray energy in order to eliminate cancer cells without harming the surrounding area.
To learn more about how Image-Guided SRT works, please call GentleCure at 855-982-1373 to speak with a skin cancer information specialist. Although the ultimate decision should rest with you and your healthcare provider, we would be glad to help you locate an Image-Guided SRT provider near you.