Skin cancer: The unusual cause that increases the risk – are you at risk?


Sun exposure causes skin cancer because of the ultraviolet radiation in sunshine. UVA and UVB rays causing skin damage including sunburn and premature ageing of the skin. This damage can lead to skin cancer and sun exposure is the most important risk factor for non-melanoma skin cancer. There are 40,000 new cases of skin cancer each year in the UK, what is the one unusual cause of skin cancer and how can you prevent yourself from getting skin cancer?

Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. When it comes to what causes skin cancer, alcohol has been said to increase a person’s risk. Consuming alcohol intake is estimated to be responsible for 3.5 per cent of all cancer deaths.

A study found that the risk of basal cell carcinoma increased by 7 per cent and squamous cell carcinoma by 11 per cent for every standard beer or glass of wine each day.

Cancer Research UK said: “Research shows drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancer whether you drink it all in one go or spread it throughout the week.

“Drinking alcohol causes 11,900 cases of cancer a year in the UK. Cutting back has lots of benefits other than reducing your risk including reducing the risk of accidents, high blood pressure and liver disease.”

Skin Cancer Foundation’s top tips to avoiding skin cancer:

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10am and 4pm
  • Don’t get too sunburnt
  • Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds
  • Cover up with clothing including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to the entire body 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours after swimming or excessive sweating
  • Keep newborn and babies out of the sun
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month
  • See a dermatologist at least once a year

Symptoms of skin cancer:

  • Smooth and pearly skin
  • Appear as a firm, red lump or may look sunken in the middle
  • Appear as a pearly brown or black lump if you have darker skin
  • Itchy feeling which bleeds easily
  • Develops a crust or scab
  • Begin to heal but never completely heal
  • Look like a flat, red spot that is scaly and crusty

There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma.The latter is far the most common and can usually be treated successfully.


The 12th most common cancer in men and 11th woman in the UK. It usually develops in cells in the outer layer of the skin and starts in the areas of normal looking skin. It can start out as a mole and the risk of melanomas increases with age.


Also develops in cells in the outer layer of the skin and has two types: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal cell appears on the face,scalp, ears, hands, shoulders and back and squamous cell appears on face,neck, lips, ears, hands, shoulders and limbs.

You should see your GP if you notice any skin changes or possible symptoms of skin cancer. Also see your GP if there are any changes in the site where you had your original skin cancer.


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