What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the common malignant/ cancerous growth of the skin.  It originates from the cells of the membrane that separates the superficial layer of skin from the deeper layers.

There are three major types of skin cancer:

  1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (the most prevalent)
  2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (the second most prevalent)
  3. Melanoma (least common but most dangerous of all)

What are the other risk factors of skin cancer?

A risk factor is anything that will accentuate the risk of a person getting any disease such as cancer. But risk factors are not the absolute answers. You can have one or even more risk factors and yet not develop the disease. And many people who get diagnosed of the disease might not even have any of the risk factors. They are just points for you to be careful. After all, prevention is better than cure.

  1. Ultraviolet rays: We have all heard about the harmful effects of UV rays. It is the major risk factor for skin cancer. Tanning lamps and booths are also a source of UV radiation. People are more exposed to the UV radiation are at a greater risk.
  2. Skin Color: The risk of skin cancer is more for the people with light skin as compared to the ones with a dark skin. This is because melanin protects against the harmful UV radiation. People with light skin have freckles and are more prone to sun burning. People with blue or green eyes and blonde or red hair are also more prone to skin cancer.
  3. Age: the risk of Basal and Squamous Cell skin cancers grows with age. This is also because older people have been more exposed to the sun and its harmful rays. But these days’ even young people have been diagnosed with skin cancer.
  4. Exposure to chemicals: Large amounts of arsenic chemicals also increase the risk. People Arsenic, a heavy metal is used in the creation of some insecticides. Workers exposed to coal tar, paraffin are also at a risk.
  5. Skin problems and earlier cancers: People who have undergone a treatment for cancer and because of which were exposed to a lot f radiation, or the ones who have suffered from a skin cancer earlier can now develop another one. A fairly small is risk the ones who have had scars from bad burns, areas of skin over bad bone infections, and skin damaged by certain skin diseases.
  6. Family diseases: Xeroderma pigmentosum is a rare disease that makes the skin less able to repair skin damage. This is a disease that runs in the families. And such people are exposed to the risk of skin cancer and can be affected right from the childhood.
  7. Smoking: It is dangerous, that is something we all know. But it causes Squamous Cell cancer and Basal cell cancer.


If you have any of the above said risk factors than I is advisable that you go see a doctor. It is not as if these risk factors will develop in to a cancer but it is better to be aware than to not know.