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How Do You Get Skin Cancer? Here’s The Real Answer

We all know the best ways to protect ourselves from the sun: apply sunscreen every day, wear long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat while outdoors, and seek the shade from 10 am to 4 pm, if at all possible. Even still, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one out of five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. This is a pretty startling statistic that leaves many wondering why so many Americans are still affected by skin cancer despite knowing how to protect themselves. 


How do you get skin cancer?

There’s an easy answer to this question, and it’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays from the sun and the use of UV tanning beds are the two main causes of skin cancer. Of course, different types of exposure to UV light have been found to lead to different types of skin cancer. 

For example:

Most basal cell carcinomas are caused by a combination of sporadic, intense exposure and cumulative, long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays. 

Squamous cell carcinoma is typically a result of cumulative, long-term exposure to UV by being outside and/or in tanning beds. 

Melanoma often comes about after sun exposure that results in sunburn, though tanning beds have also proven to increase the risk of developing melanoma. 


Do tanning beds cause skin cancer?

Obviously, from the information above, it’s now clear that, yes, tanning beds can cause skin cancer. Believe it or not, the International Agency for Research on Cancer even includes UV tanning beds in Group 1 on its list of agents that are cancer-causing to humans, right along with cigarettes. 


Is skin cancer genetic?

While almost all skin cancers are caused by UV exposure in one way or another, melanoma does have a genetic component, meaning the risks of developing melanoma are passed down from generation to generation within a family. 

Familial melanoma is the term given to families with two or more first-degree relatives that have or have had melanoma. It’s also important to note that one in ten melanoma patients have a family member who has also had the disease. 


When it’s time to see a dermatologist

More often than not, when caught early, it can be easily treated, and your chances of getting rid of it entirely is much higher. That means that it’s absolutely crucial to always be aware of any changes on your body and visit your doctor yearly for a thorough examination.

Skin cancer shouldn’t be taken lightly, and it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution when it comes to the sun and any changes on the skin.

Contact Center of Surgical Dermatology for more information on skin cancer in Westerville, OH

Center of Surgical Dermatology is the largest medical and surgical skin treatment and wellness facility in Central Ohio. Since 2007, our board-certified Dermatologists, fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons, and caring professional staff have provided patients with the treatment they can trust in an environment second to none. Learn more about our state-of-the-art Dermatology Center before booking your appointment today.

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