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Don’t Just Blame the Sun for Skin Cancer: Here are some Other Culprits

Update Date: Jun 22, 2013 12:12 PM EDT

When people get skin cancer or hear about it, they often place the blame on the sun.  Even though the sun is the culprit many of the times, there are several other factors that contribute to skin cancer as well. Every year, there are over 3.5 million non-melanoma related skin cancer cases. Although this type of skin cancer, responsible for 2,000 deaths per year in the U.S., is not as dangerous as melanoma, which afflicts around 75,000 and kills nearly 9,000 Americans per year, it is still important to protect oneself from those risks. In order to take better measures to prevent skin cancer, doctors remind people of the other risk factors that lead to skin cancer.

"Hands down, sun exposure is the biggest risk factor for skin cancer," an assistant professor of dermatology from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, Dr. Sherrif Ibrahim said reported by Medical Xpress. "And it's a cumulative risk. The more exposure you've gotten, the bigger the risk. The skin doesn't know if you're out one time for an hour or 12 times for five minutes at a time. Your skin keeps a running meter."

Although it is important to limit sun exposure or repeatedly lather on sunscreen, doctors remind people of the many other skin cancer risks that exist. First, the risk of tanning beds have been debated these past few years. More and more research suggests that these beds, especially when used frequently could be as dangerous as sunbathing. Along the same lines as tanning beds, doctors listed ultraviolet light that is found in these beds and in nail treatments as potential risk factors for skin cancer. Surprisingly enough, compact fluorescent bulbs also emit ultraviolet light that could increase skin cancer risk if there is a crack in the coating.

Second, radiation also plays a huge factor in skin cancer. Areas that have been exposed more than once increases the risk of skin cancer. Third, Parkinson's disease has been tied to melanoma risks due to genetic factors. Fourth, two studies identified a link between squamous cell cancer, which is a less lethal version of skin cancer, and smoking. Fifth, exposure to certain chemicals, such as pesticides and arsenic has also been tied to increasing one's risk of non-melanoma skin caners. Lastly, driving can also increase skin cancer risk because the arm, usually the left one is exposed more frequently to sunlight.

These factors might not be huge contributors, but they still can increase one's risk of skin cancers. It is important to remember these factors and take measures to protect one's skin. 

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