Skin Cancer

Cancer occurs when damage to DNA causes genetic changes or mutations that lead to uncontrolled cell division. Cancer is caused by agents known as carcinogens, which cause DNA damage to cells. Like tobacco, UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds is considered a carcinogen because the damage it does to the DNA inside skin cells can lead to cancer. The body repairs much of the

damaged DNA, but some damage will remain, especially with repeated exposure to UV radiation.

Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations. These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. The main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), and Melanoma.

The 2 main causes of skin cancer are the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and the use of indoor tanning devices. Fortunately, if skin cancer is caught early, your dermatologist can treat it with little to no scarring and high odds of eliminating it entirely. Most times, your dermatologist may even detect the growth at a precancerous stage, before it has become a full-blown skin cancer or penetrated the deeper layers of the skin.

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What Role do Genetics play in skin cancer risk?