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Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

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Cause

Nonmelanoma skin cancer is usually caused by overexposure to the sun and its ultraviolet (UV) rays. Overexposure to UV rays can result from:

  • Having severe sunburn and blistering, especially during childhood.
  • Spending a lot of time in the sun over many years.
  • Using tanning beds or sunlamps, which are artificial sources of UV rays.

Other possible causes of skincancer include repeated exposure to X-rays, certain chemicals (such as arsenic, coal tar, creosote), and radioactive substances (such as radium). Skin cancer may also be caused by ionizing radiation treatments for skin conditions such as psoriasis or acne.

Recommended Related to Melanoma/Skin Cancer

Overview

Note: Separate PDQ summaries on Skin Cancer Prevention, Skin Cancer Treatment, and Levels of Evidence for Cancer Screening and Prevention Studies are also available. Interventions The only widely proposed screening procedure for skin cancer is visual examination of the skin, including both self-examination and clinical examination. Benefits In asymptomatic populations, the effect of visual skin examination on mortality from nonmelanomatous skin cancers is unknown. Further, the evidence...

Read the Overview article > >

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 02, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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