Skin Cancer: Types, Risk Factors & Prevention

When there is a rapid growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis(outermost layer of the skin), skin cancer occurs. It is one of the most common types of cancer. 

It is essential to have frequent health checkups to detect the signs of skin cancer. Early diagnosis can cure the disease efficiently. 

There are several types of skin cancer. Melanoma is the rarest and most dangerous than all other types. 

Read this article have a deep insight into skin cancer. Know the types, risk factors, and prevention and reduce the risk of the disease to some extent.

What Are The Types Of Skin Cancer?

Actinic Keratoses

  • Also known as solar keratoses
  • Forms rough, scaly patches on the skin
  • Caused by many years of sun exposure
  • Generally happens to fair people 
  • Usually occurs after the age of 40
  • Often occurs on the hands, neck, forearms and head as these body parts get a great deal of sun exposure
  • Treatment is crucial as it can lead to the development of squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell Carcinoma

  • The most common type of skin cancer
  • Least risky
  • Early diagnosis can cure it
  • Anyone can have this type of cancer, but fair people are at more risk
  • Caused by many years of sun exposure
  • Utilization of tanning beds 
  • Neck, head, and arms are more susceptible, although it can occur on other parts as well
  • Can invade to adjacent bones or tissue 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • The second most common type of skin cancer
  • Happens as a result of years of sun exposure or tanning beds
  • The progress of the disease is plodding
  • It can invade to adjacent lymph nodes, bones, and tissues
  • Happens usually to light-skinned people


  • Most lethal type of skin cancer
  • Appear as a new dark spot or mole on the skin
  • Develops in melanocytes(cells which produce melanin)
  • It can also form in eyes and other internal organs

What Are The Methods Used To Spot Melanoma?

Melanoma is one of the most dangerous types of cancer. Following are the methods that will help you with the early diagnosis of the disease:

1. The ABCDE Method


The mole developed is not symmetrical. The upper half of the mole differs from the lower half of the mole. 


The borders of melanomas are uneven and serrated. Common moles, on the other hand, have more even and smoother edges.


The common mole appears in a single shade of brown. While melanomas have different variations of brown, black, or tan. It can also turn into red, blue, or white color with time. 


Melanomas are usually larger and darker than the usual. It can even go beyond the size of a pencil eraser.


Melanomas evolve continuously in terms of shape, size, or color. 

This method is significant in detecting suspicious spots or lesions that can become cancerous in the future.

2. The Ugly Duckling Method

It works on the fact that all of the moles of a person resemble one another, just like siblings. Melanoma looks different from the common mole.

If a new mole develops on your body that stands out from your other moles, consult your healthcare specialist. 

Comprehend the early warning signs of the disease and get it treated as quickly as possible. Delay in the treatment can be the reason of death.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Skin Cancer?

Fair Skin

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Fair people are at an elevated risk of getting struck by skin cancer. 

Melanocytes produce a pigment called melanin, which gives human eyes, skin, and hair their color. It protects the skin from the adverse effects of ultraviolet radiation.

Dark-skinned people have more of this pigment than the light-skinned people. So, they are at the least risk of developing skin cancer.

UV Light

The UV radiation in the sunlight is very harmful to our skin. It can damage the skin cells. The people who get more UV exposure are at a higher risk of skin cancer. 

UV exposure depends on the following factors:

  • Intensity of sunlight
  • Time for which the skin was vulnerable
  • Utilization of sunscreen
  • Whether the skin was protected with clothing

Older Age

The risk of certain types of cancer increases with age. Older people have years of exposure to the sun that can lead to the disease.

Younger people can also get skin cancer if they spend lots of time in sunlight without safeguarding their skin.

Male Sex

Men usually spend more time in the sun than females. So, they are at an increased risk of developing the disease.

The risk of squamous cell skin cancer and basal cell skin cancer are 2 to 3 times more in men than in women.

Exposure To Certain Chemicals

Chemicals like arsenic can deteriorate your skin. Some of the insecticides have this substance in them. 

More exposure to the arsenic-like harmful substance can increase your risk of skin cancer.

Have Had A Skin Cancer Before

If you have had skin cancer before, you can get the disease again. 


Scientists believe that the presence of specific genes in the body can lead to skin cancer. It happens because those genes are increasingly sensitive to get affected by sunlight.

Family History

Skin cancer can be inherited. If you have a friend or family member with the disease, you can get it too. 

Weak Immune System

If your immune system is not powerful enough, you are at a high risk of getting affected by non-melanoma cancer.

Someone who has had an organ transplant needs to take medication to weaken their defensive mechanism. The organ does not accept in people who have strong immunity. It increases your risk of skin cancer.

How Can You Prevent Skin Cancer?

  • Wear sunscreen whenever you go out
  • Avoid sun exposure in the noon
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Seek for shade
  • Get frequent skin checkups
  • Make use of a self-tanning product



Skin Cancer: Types, Risk Factors & PreventionSkin Cancer: Types, Risk Factors & Prevention



Tags: Skin cancer symptoms, Skin cancer risk factors, Is skin cancer deadly

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.