No one can die from having rough, dry or wrinkly skin. On the other hand, skin cancer most especially in its advanced stages can cost you your life. So if you have to prioritize one thing between steering clear of skin that looks kind of old and skin that has cancer, the choice is evidently clear.
Did you know that a lot of us are guilty of doing certain things that can increase the likelihood of skin cancer striking? From forgetting to apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to using a tanning bed, there are simply so many habits that can put you at risk of having skin cancer — and those habits are referred to by doctors as risk factors.
So put simply, a risk factor is something that can increase your chance of developing a certain disease, be it the common cold, high blood pressure, or skin cancer.
Certainly, some risk factors of skin cancer can be avoided simply by making smarter dietary and lifestyle choices. But on the other hand, there are risk factors that you can do nothing about. Whether it’s just one risk factor that you have or several different ones, there’s always the possibility of skin cancer showing up.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will surely end up battling skin cancer one day if you have one risk factor or many risk factors. For instance, there are people who are diagnosed with cancer of the skin that have only one or even no risk factor at all. But then there are also those who have the risk factors, be it single or numerous, that do not have skin cancer. Again, risk factors MAY, and not WILL SURELY, cause skin cancer to strike.
Let’s first take a look at risk factors of skin cancer that you cannot change or drive away:
Generally speaking, older people are at higher risk of developing skin cancer due to years of exposure to the sun. These days, however, skin cancer is also commonly seen in younger individuals, most likely due to the fact that they’re spending lots of time under the sun without any protection.
Because individuals with fair skin have very little melanin, which is a pigment that offers sun protection, they are at higher risk of developing skin cancer. But dark-skinned people should not rejoice — even they can develop skin cancer if they have excessive sun exposure, doctors say.
People who have abnormal moles — be it a few or many — are at higher risk of skin cancer compared to those who do not have them. The moles being talked about are those that have irregular shapes and borders, larger than regular ones, and tend to change in color and position.
Family and personal history
Medical experts say that it’s likely for you to face skin cancer one day if a relative of yours has been diagnosed with this disease. Also, skin cancer may recur — you may develop it again if you once had it even though it’s been treated successfully.
Now let’s check out risk factors of skin cancer that you can do something about:
Excessive sun exposure
If you love to bathe in the sun and you always forget to generously apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, then you’re at high risk of having skin cancer. This is most especially true if you have lots of history of severe sunburns.
Using tanning beds
If you think that the use of a tanning bed can save you from skin cancer, think again. A tanning bed is just a smaller version of the sun — both of them emit UV rays that can cause cancer of the skin. If you like to get a sun-kissed glow, it’s a better idea to apply self-tanning lotions or sprays.
Living in sunny or high altitude areas
Because of the increased amounts of UV rays from the sun that you can get, you are at higher risk of suffering from skin cancer if you live in a place where the sun is always shiny, or on a high altitude area like a mountaintop.
Poor eating habits
Did you know that having a weakened immune system can make you susceptible to having skin cancer? That’s because your body is less capable of suppressing those cancerous cells. Make sure that you opt for healthy eating habits and manage your stress levels to strengthen your immunity.
We all know that smoking cigarettes is linked to a variety of diseases, and the big C is included. According to medical professionals, smoking can put you at risk of skin cancer as it floods your system with toxins, plus it also weakens your immune system.