The abnormal multiplication of skin cells is called skin cancer, mostly occurs in the people having long exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. There are three main types of cancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Usually, it assaults the areas which have most contact with the sunlight but there is a possibility of developing the disease in the undisclosed parts of skin.
Major Risk Factors and Causes of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer starts in the epidermis of skin that serves as a thin protective layer made up of three basic cells; Squamous cells, basal cells and melanocytes. When the process ofÂ producing new cells and removing the old ones is disturbed by DNA, responsible for all the actions occurs in the cells, due to any damage in its key functioning. It results in the abnormal and massive reproduction of the new cells, called skin cancer.
Now the question is; what are the causes and factors which affect the normal performance of DNA, resulting in skin cancer.
Causes of Skin Cancers
The main cause that is most common in all skin cancers is Ultraviolet Rays emitted from the sun or from the commercially used tanning lamps and tanning beds. UV radiation consists of three wavelength bands- Ultraviolet A (UVA), Ultraviolet B (UVB) and Ultraviolet C (UVC). Formerly, UVB rays were considered responsible for damaging or changing the normal functioning of DNA of skin cells and to activate the oncogenes that can turn a normal cell into malignant skin cancer cell.
But now the science has proved that UVA penetrates deeper in the skin as compared to UVB does. By weakens the immune system of the skin these rays increase the risk of all skin cancers, specially the deadly one Melanoma. Tanning beds are taken very dangerous because of the emission of high doses of UVA.
Repeated Exposure to X_rays
The patients or individuals, who are exposed to high intensity X-rays repeatedly, have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
Immune System Destroying Therapies
Some therapies like chemotherapy or radiotherapy destroy immune cells of the skin which results in skin cancer. Immunosuppression in organ or bone marrow transplantation also causes skin cancer.
Contact with Toxic Chemicals
People like farmers, miners, sheep shearers, having direct contact with the arsenic containing compounds for example, pesticides, wood preservatives, pitch made up by distillation of wood or coal tar, creosote, or radium.
Risk Factors to Develop Skin Cancer
Several factors can increase the chance to develop skin cancers. These may be environmental or natural.
Here are some risk factors that may play an important role to cause skin cancer.
- Individuals with fair skin with less melanin producing cells, freckles, blue or green eyes, blond or light colored hair, easily fallen a prey to skin cancer.
- The inhabitants of high altitude areas, which receive high intensity UV rays, can be a victim to skin cancers
- Maximum sun exposure, without sun block, is also a risk factor to develop the disease
- A family history of having skin cancer
- Severe sun burns of childhood or adulthood sometimes invaded by skin cancers later on
- People with the background of skin lesions, actinic keratoses-the early stage of skin cancer),have a high capacity of skin cancer
- Weakened immune system is an easy target for the disease, especially in HIV infected patients or leukemia.
- Immunsupression drugs are also a factor to weaken the immunity of the cells
- Age factor is also important specially in white men after reaching 50
Written by This article was last updated on February 12th, 2012, in Cancer