The Causes of Skin Cancer
By Sara Butler
Skin cancer is about more than the sun, it’s also about risk factors. While it may be true that the UV rays of the sun cause the changes in the DNA in the cells of your skin that cause cancer, there are certain traits that make this process more likely. In order to protect yourself against skin cancer, it’s important to understand if you’re at increased risk and what you can do to prevent it.
Exposure to UV
The most obvious risk factors for skin cancer is too much exposure to UV rays. According to the National Institutes of Health, people who have had more than five sunburns in their lifetime have double the risk of developing skin cancer than those who have not. It’s important to take protective measures against sunburns and UV if you:
- Have had skin cancer in the past
- Have a family history of skin cancer
- Have large moles or irregular moles
- Have skin that tends to freckle or burn in the sun
- Have gray or blue eyes, fair skin, and light brown, blonde, or red hair
- Spend several hours in the sun each week
- Have lupus or other autoimmune diseases
- Take mediation the suppresses your immune system
The older you are, the higher your risk of skin cancer. In fact, as you age your chances of developing skin cancer increase, probably due to a cumulative effect of UV exposure over your lifetime. That doesn’t mean that young people aren’t impacted by skin cancer. In fact, the average age of onset for this disease has decreased every year, impacting people in their twenties and thirties. So, if you’ve used tanning beds in your lifetime, make sure to keep an eye on your skin.
Men Are More Vulnerable
It is true that over the last few years young women have shown an increase in skin cancer, men are still at a higher risk for the disease. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that men don’t take as many protective measures in the sun as women do. Researchers also think that men’s skin is more susceptible to UV damage because they have less fat underneath their skin and more collagen.
No matter how you slice it, protecting yourself from the rays of the sun is important to your overall health and wellness. So make sure to protect yourself and your family all year long.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wichita, Kans.