5 Avoidable Skin Cancer Causers


Most of us have known for years that staying out of the sun it one of the best ways to avoid early aging and skin cancer. However, exposure to the sun is not the only factor in skin cancer formation. The two most common skin cancers are squamous and melanoma. Luckily, skin cancer research is ongoing and many advances have been made in understanding causes and treatment options. Still, the best thing is to always use a sunscreen and to see your doctor to check the surface of your skin annually. What may seem like nothing may be a pre-cancerous growth.


1. Does smoking have an effect on skin cancer formation? As “luck” would have it, women who smoke have a dramatically higher chance of developing squamous skin cancer. Squamous skin cancer is less aggressive than melanoma, but still needs to be treated. Researchers are not clear why women who smoke have such a higher risk of this cancer forming than men.

2. What is Trametinib? This is a new drug for treating skin cancer developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GLK). According to the National Cancer Institute “[Trametnib] is for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma with BRAH v600E or V600k mutation…” This drug is used with people who have NOT previously tried BRAH inhibitor therapy. It is very good news that there is some hope for people with melanoma, which used to be a veritable death sentence.

3. What do hair follicles have to do with squamous skin cancer? Research at UCLA has yielded an understanding about how tissue-specific hair follicle stem cells can actually promote squamous cell skin cancer. Researchers hope to understand better how stem cell cancer suppression works so scientists can develop preventative skin cancer measures. Hair follicle stem cells have a phase in their cycle where they are not able to initiate cancers. This is called the dormant phase. By understanding this phase, the idea is that squamous skin cancer can be prevented or mitigated. Hair follicle stem cells are the exact adult stem cells that generate hair follicles and they are the cells of origin for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). “The investigators note that understanding cancer suppression through quiescence could provide the development better preventative strategies in patients susceptible to SCC…The findings of this study might also be helpful for preventing other cancers in which stem cells have a quiescent phase.

4. What other drugs are there for skin cancer? Usually basal and squamous skin cancers are noticed early on and treated easily. But when they do spread to other parts of the body, this is when treatment can be difficult, even with chemo or radiation. Scientists know that part of the problem is that cancer cells have too much of the EGFR protein which seems to help them grow. Two drugs that inhibit this protein are Tarceva and Iressa. These are in clinical trials now. Another drug, which goes after other proteins is called Sprycel. It is still under research.

5. What is Moh’s Surgery? This is a skin cancer removal surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the tumor along with a thin layer of skin. He then takes the sample to the microscope and checks to see if there are cancer cells. If he sees cancerous cells, he removes the next layer of skin and so on until no cancer cells are seen. This is a very slow process, taking hours. But the idea is there will be less scaring and a better appearance after surgery. Watch the surgeon in action in this video.

Skin cancer is a serious business. When you think about it, your skin is the largest organ of your body and it is always on the front lines. Do not take this for granted. Be careful and see a dermatologist regularly.

About the author:

Dr. George Schmieder is certified by the American Board of Dermatology, the American College of Osteopathic Dermatology and the American Mohs Society.

55 Comments to 5 Avoidable Skin Cancer Causers

  1. I have know so many people that have had skin cancer… so scary and these are some great tips for helping to avoid it. I don’t smoke, but I have been around it for years. My Mom and Dad both used to smoke and it would make my skin smell from being around them.

  2. I have very fair skin it’s porcine looking I have blue eyes and red hair and I’m always putting suns screen on even in the winter I can never take chances. This is very great info to know and pass on thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for the info. I have some spots that I would like to have looked at.

  4. to be honest at my age I stay out of the sun.. The UV Rays are dangerous and the ozone layer is being depleted so to be on the safe side. If I have to be under the sun I will buy a VMV Armada or Snoe’s SPF or Banana Boat SPF 70

  5. This is definitely a good news. But, nevertheless, we still need to take good care of our skin.

  6. I know some people who suffer from melanomas and I can’t stress enough the importance of using sunscreen and having screenings.

  7. Skin cancer is really serious so it would be nice to protect the skin like using the right sun block when there’s significant exposure to the sun.

  8. We must take care of our birthday suit. I mean our skin. It’s the body’s biggest organ after all. ^_^

  9. Another reason why I should quit smoking. Well, I think I’m doing a good job naman ‘cos I’ve been smoking less na. Thanks for sharing this info, Aisha! :)

  10. Very informative. This is a very timely reminder to all of us to take precaution and apply sunscreen always. Great post!

  11. What an informative blog post! We should always take good care of our skin!! :)

  12. Good to hear there are drugs and surgeries available for this kind of cancer. But as well know, prevention is better than cure, so we must all take care of our skin.

  13. Wow! This is so helpful! Thank you for sharing! :)

  14. Joshua Berida

    This is an informative post for those who want to avoid getting this sickness.

  15. With summer time coming this information is so important. Women need to be aware about how to protect their skin, and if needed how to treat their skin with some of these drugs. Thanks for mentioning them

  16. your very informative blog about the causes of skin cancer may have saved hundreds of lives after they read this. Keep it up.

    I am also a fan of sunblock, so hopefully I wont get one.

  17. Aldous Calubad (@team_aldous)

    Thanks for this info. I really need to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist soon.

  18. Well, maybe I shouldn’t even admit this, but I lay out all summer long with no sunblock. I love getting a nice tan and I do.

  19. Skin cancer is way too scarrrryyy… Good thing we have this kind of information to help us prevents skin cancer. As always, prevention is better than cure.

  20. this is very helpful.. I have friends who have smoke and I didn’t know that it can contribute to cancer..

  21. Skin Cancer is very scary and I don’t want to get it. I have to take care of my skin especially when I have a skin asthma. Thanks for sharing this :)

  22. Great info! This is the first time I’ve heard about Moh’s Surgery. It’s good to know that there is a procedure to help skin cancer patients.

  23. Very helpful and informative!

  24. This is great info. I recently heard about other types of skin cancers that were as dangerous as the most common one, and was so surprised to hear about them!! I don’t know why, but I was. It’s nice that you’re sharing this info.

  25. Cyndie

    I have always protected my skin from the sun. So many people do not understand the value in this.

  26. Skin cancer is so scary! Great info here and tips to prevent it. I wish there were no cancers at all, there’s so many in this world.

  27. This is such a great post! I didn’t know that Arizona ranks higher for skin cancer. Here in Canada, Teenagers are encouraged to stay away from Tanning business as it is an important contributing factor for this type of cancer, studies say…

  28. Very informative post, and a great resource. I have this run in my family, so I wear sun block everywhere I go, even if it’s just going to the store. You can never be too careful about your health!

  29. I definitely need to use these tips. There is a spot on my nose that keeps getting larger and larger. I am currently trying to get health coverage so I can get to the dr. I am hoping it’s not a form of skin cancer.

  30. Scary. Skin cancer is a very scary form of cancer and is super hard to cure. The summer’s sun only brings on more difficulties. Thanks for the informative post.

  31. Thanks for sharing, this was a great post and it’s SOOOO important to avoid skin caner, living in Florida we have to be extra careful..thanks for the great tips

  32. I did not know that certain kind of hair follicle can cause skin cancer? THanks for this informative article sis.

  33. The idea of getting skin cancer scares me (along with any other type of cancer for that matter). Since there are lots of ways to avoid it is always better safe than sorry. I use a moisturizer that has sun-cream. I’ve never been to a dermatologist before…

  34. The surgery looks scary but at least there’s a way to treat it.

  35. to wear sunscreen and to see a dermatologist at once if there are skin irregularities noticed is the best way to be away from skin cancer

  36. Thanks Aisha for sharing this very useful post. Honestly, when I hear about cancer, whatever cancer it is, (skin, heart, lungs, etc.), I get really worried for myself and my family. This is the disease I would really do my best to avoid.

  37. I am super fair almost porcelain and skin cancer is a big worry to me. But then i found Roche Posay and I can go anywhere and I never burn.

  38. I’m interested to know more about the process of healing and treat skin cancer via surgery. It’s hard to imagine to remove that layer of the skin that’s affected.

  39. With summer just around the corner, this would be great.

  40. We should all be paying much more attention to matters of protecting ourselves from illnesses which can be prevented so I appreciate reading information like this.

  41. Prevention is better than cure. Important pa rin talaga magpatingin sa dermatologist for checkup annually. Hindi ko talga alam, aside sa pag bibilad sa araw ng bonggang-bongga eh dami palang nagko-cause ng skin cancer. Thanks for sharing this informative article. :)

  42. This is a good news that there are treatments being formulated for skin cancer.

  43. This is where I am so glad I was a “goth” girl as a teenager, I never went in the sun, lol! I have very light skin, so I burn easily. I have to be really careful.

  44. Skin cancer is no joking matter. I’m surprised that Arizona has the most cases though. I would have thought it might have been CO with the high altitude. Thanks for the post. I would never have known what I do now without it.

  45. My husband had an appointment with the Doctor because he was concern about his skin condition. Thank God, we didn’t find any major problems or any sign of skin cancer. He spends a lot of time outside in the sun during the summer and he easily gets sun burn hence he is caucasian. It is a serious matter that definitely needs to be addressed. Thanks for sharing!

  46. When my husband was younger, he had a bad case of acne so the doctor prescribed him this medicine which has a bad side effect to his skin later on. Now, he can’t stay exposed longer to the sun because he is prone to skin cancer. He told me that if he could have known that the meds he took will result to that, he would not have taken it as he love being outdoors.

  47. Wow! a very informative post! I’ve said it already, girls who smoke are not only more likely to have cancer but other bad things can happen to the body as well. they’re different from guys.

  48. By educating yourself of the basic things that you need to know, you can void skin cancer.

  49. This is an issue that is close to heart. My grandmother suffered a lot from skin cancer, and I saw her go through terrible pain and weakness. I’m obsessive about protecting my skin nowadays – sun block every day, at least once.

  50. I try to avoid being under the sun as much as possible. I go out when the sun’s rays doesn’t hurt on the skin.

  51. This is a very timely post. It’ll be summer in no time and many people need to read this.

  52. That’s informative. My mom would always tell me to apply sunscreen to protect my skin. I always forget or get too lazy to do it. I don’t go out in the sun that much anyway.

  53. teresa mccluskey

    Skin cancer is such a scary thing! I think these are some really great tips! thank you!

  54. wow this is some really amazing and most useful info for all of us. Thnx 4 sharing Kristine! :)

  55. Thanks for the post share with us. This is very much informative.

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