Cases of skin cancer are constantly on the rise and this is definitely one of the more common cancers in the world. Why? The most notorious enablers to blame would be those harmful UV rays- but there’s far more lurking around that could be increasing your risk of skin cancer. Here’s what you need to know on the risk factors surrounding this deadly disease:
Having less melanin AKA fairer skin does indeed increase your chances. This is because melanin is a protective pigment in the skin so less melanin means you also have less protection from the sun’s rays. In addition to this, if you freckle easily, you’re far more likely to get skin cancer than a person with darker skin.
Did you find yourself getting sunburns easily as a kid? This history of sunburn can accumulate to form plenty of genetic damage. This damage is what would result in a far higher risk of skin cancer. So in the short term, each exposure to sunlight would damage your skin and give you a sunburn but in the long term, this damage can build up and aid in optimal cancerous conditions.
As you’re probably well aware of by now, exposure to sun- especially if not protected by sunscreen or clothing- can be quite harmful. And this includes exposure to tanning lamps and beds! In fact, did you know that indoor tanning has been labelled carcinogenic by a division of the World Health Organization? These bulbs emit harmful UVA rays that seep deeper into the skin because of its proximity.
People with several moles or abnormal moles that are slightly larger and more irregular looking than normal have higher risks of skin cancer. This is because these moles are more likely to become malignant. Therefore, people with moles are often recommended to have them removed purely for health reasons nowadays so make sure to organise an appointment at your earliest.
Weak Immune System
People with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of getting skin cancer. Their systems are too weak to fight cancer cells in the body and this weakened state provides prime conditions for cancer cell growth. This would include people living with HIV or those on immunosuppressant drugs.
Exposure to Radiation
If you have had to go through exposure to radiation as a treatment to any condition like acne or eczema, this would increase your chances of skin cancer- in particular, basal cell carcinoma.
Finally, if you notice skin lesions in the form of rough patches (they could range in colour), these could be precancerous growths. They’re more commonly found in fairer skinned people- especially on the hands, head and face of those who have suffered from sunburns.
If you find that you relate to any of these factors, don’t hesitate in getting a check-up! Make it a practice to do this regularly because more and more people stand a chance of getting this disease and you could be next if you don’t catch it in early stages!