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Causes of Skin Cancer

It is common knowledge that excessive sun exposure causes skin cancer in certain individuals, but too much sunshine isn’t the only factor in the disease’s development. There are many other influences, both environmental and genetic, that can play a role in the onset of skin cancer.

Beyond sun exposure, some common risk factors and causes of skin cancer include:

  • Fair skin – Skin cancer can affect anyone, but individuals with fair skin (and less protective melanin) are particularly vulnerable.
  • Moles – Individuals with many moles – especially abnormal moles called dysplastic nevi – are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Family history – Some types of skin cancers are genetic, so a family history of the disease may indicate an increased risk.
  • A weakened immune system – When the immune system is compromised by an infection, skin cancer is more likely to develop.  
  • Tanning beds – Just as the sun’s UV rays can promote cancer growth, exposure to lamps in tanning beds also puts individuals at risk. A tan is simply the skin’s response to too much UV radiation.

Consult with a doctor if you believe you are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer, or if you notice signs of cancer such as a strange mole or skin irregularity. There are several types of malignancies that can affect the skin – some more serious than others – so it’s important to be evaluated by a medical professional to ensure your skin is healthy.

Tampa General Hospital offers highly individualized treatment to patients with all forms of skin cancer. Our experienced physicians utilize leading-edge medical technologies to provide exceptional cancer care and help achieve the best possible outcomes.