Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and it can be easily prevented by knowing its hidden risk factors and how to protect yourself. While fair-skinned people are more at risk, anyone can develop skin cancer, regardless of their skin type or color.
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the skin, classified into three main types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Risk Factors for Developing Skin Cancer
Exposure to UV radiation
The ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer and premature aging. Spending too much time in direct sunlight with unprotected skin can increase your risk for developing skin cancer.
If you’ve already had one form of skin cancer, you’re more likely to have another. Also, if a close family member has had skin cancer, your risk of getting it may be higher.
Having a weakened immune system due to an illness or medication treatment can make it harder for your body to fight off the cells that become skin cancer.
Smoking increases your risk of skin cancer and can also worsen the condition if you already have it.
Protect Your Skin from the Sun
A few simple steps can protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays and help reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Stay in the shade between 10 AM and 2 PM when the sun’s UV rays are strongest.
Wear protective clothing such as a hat, long-sleeve shirt, and pants.
Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection whenever you go outside, even on cloudy days.
Skin cancer is a surprisingly common form of cancer. While fair skinned people are most at risk, anyone can develop skin cancer if they don’t protect themselves from UV radiation. Taking simple steps to protect your skin, such as seeking shade and wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, can help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.