The following are the main causes.
1. Ultra-violet rays from the sun – the two associated with skin cancer are UVA (ultra-violet A) and UVB (ultra-violet B) rays. UVB rays are the shorter-wave solar rays and are more unlikely to cause skin reddening and sunburn. UVA rays, however, would have more permanent damages to the skin as they penetrate much deeper to the skin. Latest studies show that UVA not only increases UVB’s cancer-causing effects, but may also directly cause skin diseases including melanomas.
2. Family History – recent research confirms that the risk of melanoma is more than double in people with a family history of skin cancer. Though having someone in the family with that history does not necessarily mean that you will get it too, it certainly warrants some extra attention because of the higher risk factor.
3. Chemical Exposure – some chemicals might cause harm when they come into contact with your skin. Insecticides, for instance, often contain substances like arsenic that are dangerous to the skin. They can increase the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. Nevertheless, people working in environments in regular contact with chemicals and industrial materials (such as petroleum derivatives, arsenicals, and coal tar) are more likely to develop some type of skin cancer.
4. Smoking — whilst it is common knowledge that smoking is linked to other types of cancer such as mouth and lung cancers, the tobacco used in cigarettes etc could be a cause to developing skin cancer too.
5. Radiation Exposure – there are concerns that radiation therapy that some children undergo for other cancer treatments may increase the risk of developing a non-melanoma skin cancer. Also, people working with X-rays, including medical, nursing and radiographic personnel are subject to higher risks.
6. Skin Condition and Geography – certain skin conditions can increase a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. For instance, people with light to fair skin living in tropical or subtropical climates, such as the American Southwest, equatorial Africa, Hawaii, and Australia, generally have very high incidences of skin cancer. Serious injuries to the skin, if not healed in time, could raise the chance for non-melanoma skin cancer. Likewise for scars from very bad burns.
7. Weak Immune System – the immune system is part of the body’s defense against bacteria and cancerous formations. When the immune system is strong, the antibodies and immune cells are better able to do their job in neutralizing the free radicals and getting rid of the harmful elements from the body. Conversely, a weak immune system would open up a lot of possibilities as cancerous cells could spread out fast and divide in ways that are hard to predict.