Skin cancer is a condition which develops when the skin cells of the body sustain damage and grow abnormally. In simple terms, when the skin cells are damaged by external factors such as UV radiation, they start to change in structure and function. Under ideal circumstances, the body will be able to repair the damaged tissues. However, prolonged or extensive damage becomes difficult to repair, and the skin cells become abnormal.
Fortunately, most cancers of the skin can be treated if they are discovered early. Therefore, you should regularly visit your doctor for a skin cancer check. In addition, it is important to understand the risk factors of skin cancer. Risk factors are characteristics or exposures which increase the probability of developing the cancer. If you know the risks, you can practice diligence in protecting your skin. Here are the factors that indicate you are at risk.
Skin Cancer History
If you or your family members have a history of skin cancer, you are at a higher risk of developing the condition. Simply speaking, if you had skin cancer in your past, there is a probability of the problem recurring. In some cases, the condition might even escalate. For example, a person who had squamous or basal cell carcinoma might develop melanoma. You should also note that cancers can be linked to genetic factors. So, you should be more cautious if your family history indicates higher risk.
If you have a large number of moles, you should be vigilant in checking your skin for cancer symptoms. Moles are caused by the overgrowth of melanocytes, which are skin cells responsible for producing melanin. These overgrowths develop due to exposure to UV radiation or certain genetic factors. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the mole to change and evolve into melanomas. The moles which are linked to cancer are a little different from regular ones. You should consult a doctor for a skin cancer check if the mole in unusually large and has irregular edges. You should also be cautious if the mole starts changing.
Constant Sun Exposure
Your risk of developing skin cancer is higher if you are constantly exposed to the sun. Ultraviolet radiation is the common cause of damage to skin cells and subsequent development of abnormally growing skin cells. Therefore, you should be diligent in protecting your skin if you must be outdoors frequently. You should cover your skin with long-sleeved clothing, trousers and a hat. Also, you should use sunscreen to minimise the impact of the UV rays.