What are the Risks Associated with Skin Cancer

Doctors cannot fully explain why some individuals develop skin cancer while others do not, though it’s widely understood that skin cancer is not contagious and cannot be transmitted between people.

Research has identified several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing skin cancer. These risk factors include:

  1. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation: Exposure to UV radiation from the sun, sunlamps, tanning beds, or tanning booths over a lifetime increases the risk of skin cancer. Individuals with fair skin that burns easily, along with red or blond hair and light-colored eyes, are at higher risk, but even individuals who tan can develop skin cancer.
  2. Geographic Location: Living in areas with high levels of UV radiation, such as southern regions of the United States or mountainous areas, can increase the risk of skin cancer. UV radiation exposure occurs even on cloudy days or in cold weather.
  3. Other Risk Factors:
  • Scars or burns on the skin
  • Infection with certain human papillomaviruses
  • Exposure to arsenic at work
  • Chronic skin inflammation or skin ulcers
  • Conditions that increase skin sensitivity to the sun, like xeroderma pigmentosum, albinism, and basal cell nevus syndrome
  • Previous radiation therapy
  • Medical conditions or medications that weaken the immune system
  • Personal history of skin cancer
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Actinic keratosis and Bowen’s disease, which can progress to squamous cell skin cancer if left untreated.

If you believe you may be at risk for skin cancer, it’s essential to discuss your concerns with your doctor. They can provide guidance on reducing your risk and establish a schedule for regular checkups to monitor your skin health.