The following are some of the most common skin cancer risk factors and causes. Understanding these will help contain the disease if it arises.

Causes Of Skin cancer

Just like other types of cancers, one of the leading causes of skin cancer is unknown. However, several factors are associated with the causes of skin cancer. (1)

  • Changes In The DNA: When the TP53 tumor suppressor gene mutates, it leads to a growth of abnormal cells which may be cancerous after a long period.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): HPV affects the DNA and genes. The genes affect the growth-regulating proteins of infected skin cells. This skin cells can multiply thus leading to skin cancer
  • Exposure To Ultra Violet (UV) Rays: The UV rays damage the DNA of the skin cell growth thus triggering off the growth skin cancer. These rays come from the sun and tanning beds. Long-term exposure to UV rays increases the risk of developing skin cancer.

Risk Factors For Skin Cancer

You may have some of the skin cancer risk factors that make you more likely to develop the disease. However, having any of the risk factors does not mean that you will have or develop cancer. The risk factors associated with skin cancer include:

  • A Person’s Age: It is the most important risk factor for skin cancer because the disease occurs in older people at a higher percentage than in younger people.
  • Weakened Immune System: It is more shared and likely to occur in people infected with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) whose immune system is already weakened. It is also liable to happen in those who have had a transplant of an organ done to them.
  • Race and Gender: Most common types of skin cancers are more common in African-Americans than in whites. It is also common in men than women. The facts based on this are not known and are not established yet.
  • Virus Infection: Virus infection primarily occurs in people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) a virus that is known to cause AIDS. It is also the primary disease that increases the risk of skin cancer. Research done by doctors shows that; infections with other viruses are up to some extent linked with skin cancer, especially lymphoma of the skin. (2)
  • Exposure To Ultra Violet (UV) Rays: This is a major risk for most skin cancers. The sun and tanning beds are the leading sources of UV rays. The UV rays damage the DNA of the skin cell growth, and this marks the kickoff skin cancers.
  • Exposure To Certain Chemicals: Exposure to arsenic in large amounts increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Workers exposed to toxic chemicals such as; coal tar and paraffin, in their places of work have a higher risk of skin cancer.

Lesser Risk Factors Of Skin Cancer

  • Radiation Therapy: Those who have had radiation treatment have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
  • History Of Smoking: Smoking is one of the most dangerous skin cancer risk factors. Those who smoke are more likely to develop squamous cell skin cancer. However, this risk is not known for other types of skin cancers.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): This infection has more than 150 viruses which may cause papillomas or warts. These viruses that mostly affect the genitals and anal areas may cause skin cancers in the areas they occur.
  • Psoriasis Treatment: Psoralens and ultraviolet light (PUVA) treatments given to some patients with psoriasis can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
  • History Of Skin Cancer: Those who have a history of previous skin cancer infection have an increased danger of developing skin cancer.
  • Long-Term Skin Inflammations Or Injuries: When you notice this or related skin cancer risk factors, know it is serious. Some severe skin inflammatory diseases are more likely to develop into skin cancers. However, the risk is relatively small as compared to other risks of developing cancer.

Skin cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mayo Clinic:

Skin Cancer and Sun Damage. (n.d.). Retrieved from Medicine Net: