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Causes and Risk Factors
In general, cancer is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. In skin cancer, environmental factors seems to play a greater role.
One of the main risk factors leading to skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the Sun or artificial sources of UV - such as sunlamps or tanning booths. Ultraviolet radiation can damage the DNA causing an error in the genetic code. This error causes the skin cells to divide abnormally and to form tumors. Recent medical research suggests that melanoma is caused by a mutation of the CDKN2 gene on chromosome 9.
Another important risk factor that can cause skin cancer is a genetic vulnerability to skin cancer. This risk is greater for those people that have a fair complexion (light-colored skin that can easily freckle, red or blond hair, and blue or light-colored eyes).
Other risks that can cause basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma include:
Article by Alina Morrow, MS
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