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Vincent C. Hung, MD, MOHS Surgery, Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery

4 Ways You Can Get Skin Cancer Besides Sunlight

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Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, at least three million people are being affected by non-melanoma types of skin cancer every year.
Medical examination to determine if moles are cancerous.

People are always warned that sun exposure causes skin cancer, and true, the sun is responsible for more skin cancer cases than anything else. However, the sun is not the only way to experience a problem.

Skin cancer has many causes and many types, and so there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Skin Tone

Skin cancer can affect people regardless of skin tone; however, it is estimated that Caucasian men over 50 have the highest risk of getting melanoma. This high number is due to the reduced amount of pigment in the skin. Those who have less pigment (melanin) are at a higher risk.

Melanoma occurs when the pigment-producing cells (cells that give color to the skin) become cancerous.

Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, even in locations that are not heavily exposed to the sun, such as the bottom of the hands and feet and even under the nails.

2. Tanning Beds

Tanning beds are often promoted as a safer and faster alternative to long hours laying out in the sun. However, ultraviolet light, regardless of whether it is from the sun or an indoor treatment, are equally dangerous.

UV rays are the primary cause of skin cancers and other skin issues such as wrinkles, rashes, and dark spots.

Due to the painless and quick design of indoor tanning, it can be very easy to overdo it. Many indoor tanning users experience these beds routinely to maintain their desired results, which can increase the chances of cancer development by 80 percent.

3. Moles

In most cases, moles are harmless and will not develop into cancer. However, the more moles you have, the higher your risk is of developing cancer.

Many cells in a mole contain cancer-related genes that cause them to grow and multiply. More often than not, this gene will remain dormant; however, this may not be the case.

4. Smoking

Usually, when we think of smoking, we relate it to cancers of the lungs, mouth, or throat. You may be surprised to know that smoking can also have a significant effect on the development of skin cancer.

Smoking can increase the risk of basal cell carcinoma and melanoma by damaging the skin. Smoking also causes wrinkles and other issues of the skin.

How Can You Help Prevent Skin Cancer?

One of the simplest ways to protect yourself from skin cancer is to limit your exposure to harmful light. The AAD advises that you stay away from tanning beds and take necessary measures to protect yourself from sunlight.

Routine check-ups and self-awareness also play a significant role in prevention and detection. Try to look out for warning signs such as changes in size, shape, or color of a mole, the appearance of a new growth, or a sore that will not heal.

If you notice any of the above, be sure to visit a board-certified dermatologist to determine if there has been any development of cancer.

If cancer is found, it can often be treated with Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery is a procedure that removes layers of cancerous skin in stages to prevent the unnecessary removal of healthy tissue. In some cases, skin grafts are used to restore the appearance of the skin.

Want to Learn More?

If you or someone you love needs more information about skin cancer treatment, please feel free to contact Dr. Hung at his Pasadena office at 626-432-5032 or his Newport Beach office at 949-574-8292.