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Skin Cancer

Question: What causes skin cancer and what are the effects? Well, I am 13, and I have gotten two severe sunburns this past month. My mom said they were pretty bad, and they can cause skin cancer in the future. Is this really true? If not what are the real causes of skin cancer? What are the effects?

Answer: Skin Cancer Causes Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, most commonly from sunlight, is overwhelmingly the most frequent cause of skin cancer. Other important causes of skin cancer include the following: * Use of tanning booths * Immunosuppression—impairment of the immune system, which protects the body from foreign entities, such as germs or substances that cause an allergic reaction. This may occur as a consequence of some diseases or can be due to medications prescribed to combat autoimmune diseases or prevent organ transplant rejection. * Exposure to unusually high levels of x-rays * Contact with certain chemicals—arsenic (miners, sheep shearers, and farmers), hydrocarbons in tar, oils, and soot (may cause squamous cell carcinoma) Regarding your mother's comment, people who had at least one severe sunburn early in life have a greater risk of developing skin cancer. Mom is right! Treatment for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma is straightforward. Usually, surgical removal of the lesion is adequate. Malignant melanoma, however, may require several treatment methods, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.


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