RADIATION THERAPY FOR SKIN CANCER
Understanding Your Treatment Options
Radiation Treatment for Skin Cancer
General Risk Factors for Skin Cancer
Risk factors for developing skin cancer range from sun exposure to moles to family history:
- Exposure to ultraviolet rays and sunburn: People who have had prolonged exposure to sunlight and tanning booths have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. The amount of exposure depends on the intensity of the light, length of time the skin was exposed, and whether the skin was protected with either clothing or sunscreen. The risk of developing skin cancer can also increase due to severe sunburn in childhood or the teenage years.
- Skin coloring/pigmentation: Fair-skinned people are 20 times more likely to develop skin cancer than people with darker skin. The highest risk is found among Caucasian people with red or blonde hair and fair skin that freckles or burns easily. People with darker pigmentation can also develop skin cancer, more likely on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, under the nails or inside the mouth.
- Moles: Individuals with unusual, large or multiple moles may be at increased risk of developing melanoma.
- Family history: Risk of developing melanoma is higher in people whose family members have been diagnosed.
- Immune suppression: People with illnesses that affect their immune system (such as HIV) or who are taking medicines to suppress their immune system (such as after an organ transplant) have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
- Occupational exposure: Individuals exposed to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds or radium are at increased risk to develop skin cancer.
Facts About Skin Cancer
- More than 1 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers will be diagnosed in the United States this year. These cancers can usually be cured.
- More than 55,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed annually. Nearly 5,000 men and 2,900 women will die from the disease this year.
- Skin cancer is most common in adults but can sometimes affect children and teenagers.
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