Skip to main content

Lesser-Known Facts About Skin Cancer

Lesser-Known Facts About Skin Cancer

The most common form of cancer in the United States is skin cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While people with some skin types may be more susceptible to cancer, anyone can develop one of the many forms of the disease. Two types of skin cancer dominate the case numbers, and four types account for 95% of all skin cancer occurrences

Despite being the most common cancer, there are still plenty of myths and misconceptions about skin cancer. We’re skin cancer experts at MD Vein & Skin Specialists, so we’ve prepared a list of lesser-known facts about skin cancer to raise awareness and demystify the disease that will affect one in five Americans at some point in their lifetimes. 

Ultraviolet light changes your DNA

There’s more to ultraviolet (UV) light than simply changing the color of your skin. While UV triggers tanning, a protective mechanism of your body, it’s also strong enough to disrupt the DNA chain sequences in your cells. The type of skin cell affected can determine what type of skin cancer you develop. 

Tans and sunburns can cause different types of cancer

If you tend to tan after sun exposure and later develop skin cancer, you will likely have basal or squamous cell skin cancer. When your skin tends to burn, and you’ve had several severe sunburns over the course of your life, you have a greater risk of melanoma if you’re diagnosed with skin cancer. 

Melanoma can happen in places other than your skin

Melanocytes produce melanin, a substance that makes pigment for your body. While your skin is full of melanocytes, which cause melanoma when they mutate, they exist in other tissues, too, such as the esophagus, rectum, and vagina. While UV exposure can trigger melanoma, it’s also possible for it to develop in places that aren’t exposed to sun or artificial UV sources. 

Melanoma and moles

While melanomas can develop on a preexisting mole, 70% of melanoma skin cancer cases begin on normal skin. Moles themselves aren’t dangerous, but having a lot of moles over your body is a melanoma risk factor. 

Melanoma and tanning beds

While tanning bed use is in decline, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that nearly 8 million adults in the country still use indoor tanning devices at home or in salons. Despite the fact that other types of skin cancer occur more often, there’s no increased risk for these when using artificial UV light sources. An increased risk of melanoma is, however, tied to tanning beds. 

Clouds and windows

The word “ultraviolet” describes light energy beyond (ultra) the visible spectrum of violet light. UV rays can penetrate when and where you least expect them, such as on cloudy days and indoors. Like visible light, UV rays can reflect, so you don’t need to be in direct sunlight to receive UV exposure. 

Schedule a skin cancer screening with MD Vein & Skin Specialists by calling our office or using our online booking link on this page. It’s the best way to stay confident that you’re safe in the sun. Set up your appointment today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Why Am I Still Getting Acne in My 30s?

Why Am I Still Getting Acne in My 30s?

While acne typically connects with puberty and adolescence in the teen years, it can develop at any time. Adult acne is less common but still a real problem. Here’s why.
Heavy, Cramping Legs at Night  — When to See a Doctor

Heavy, Cramping Legs at Night — When to See a Doctor

Nighttime leg cramps can be painful annoyances, but they’re generally harmless. However, if your legs also feel unusually heavy, there could be other reasons behind your leg cramp experience, which could suggest a doctor’s visit is necessary.

Should I Worry That My Ankles Look Swollen?

After a long day on your feet, it's not unusual to notice your ankles are puffy and swollen, a condition known as edema. It may not always be a problem, but there are times when swelling indicates a more serious health issue.
Help! My Mole Has Changed Size and Shape

Help! My Mole Has Changed Size and Shape

Moles are common and usually don’t become cancerous. In rare cases, moles start to change in size, shape, and other characteristics, and this could indicate melanoma, the most aggressive and dangerous form of skin cancer.
What are My Treatment Options for Varicose Veins?

What are My Treatment Options for Varicose Veins?

While the gnarly, twisted appearance of varicose veins may look painful and angry, they’re just a cosmetic issue for most people. However, varicose veins can cause pain and other symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about your treatment options.