How Does Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Nonmelanoma skin cancer initially starts in the skin cells. When this takes place, cancerous cells grow and enter the surrounding tissue to cause severe damages. Besides, it spreads to other parts of the patient’s body.

We know that the skin is the largest organ of a human body and it provides protection against various harmful environmental factors, like the germs, hot temperatures, and the sun. The skin of a person also controls the temperature of the human body, removes various waste products through the sweat and gives a touch sense. The skin is also responsible to prepare Vitamin D.

In some cases, skin cells change and no longer behave or grow normally. These changes result in benign or noncancerous growth, like moles, dermatofibromas, warts and skin tags. Any change to skin cells may even result in precancerous conditions. Accordingly, even though the abnormal cells do not yet form cancer, they create a chance to convert into cancer if the affected person fails to undergo proper treatment. Doctors refer to the precancerous skin condition as actinic keratosis.

How Does Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Affect The Body?

How Does Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Affect The Body?

However, changes in human skin cells may sometimes result in nonmelanoma skin cancer. In most of the cases, nonmelanoma skin cancer begins in round-shaped basal cells, which are present at the top area of the skin i.e. epidermis. Doctors refer to this type of cancer as BCC i.e. Basal Cell Carcinoma and they form approximately 75percent to 80percent of the total skin cancers.

Alternatively, nonmelanoma skin cancer may take place in squamous skin cells i.e. flat cells present in the outer area of the skin’s epidermis. Doctors refer to this as squamous cell carcinoma and they form approximately 20percent of cancers. (1)

What Triggers Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer?

Other than family history and ultraviolet rays, there are additional factors, which doctors think to increase your chance to develop various types of skin cancer. These are-

  • Pale skin, which never tans easily
  • Have red or blonde hair
  • Have blue eyes
  • Age factor
  • A large number of freckles
  • A large number of moles
  • A previously damaged skin area by radiotherapy and burning treatment
  • A specific health condition to suppress one’s immune system, like for instance HIV Aids
  • Medications to suppress the immune system i.e. immunosuppressants used commonly after the transplantation of organs.
  • Exposure to arsenic, creosote or any other specific chemical
  • When you diagnosed with any type of skin cancer in the past (2)

Most of the time, nonmelanoma skin cancer takes place because of Ultraviolet light, as it causes damage to the DNA present in one’s skin cells. Sunlight is the prime source of the ultraviolet light and it comprises of three different types of ultraviolet light-

  • UVA i.e. ultraviolet A
  • UVB i.e. ultraviolet B
  • UVC i.e. ultraviolet C

The atmosphere of the earth filters the ultraviolet C. However, ultraviolet rays A and B cause damage to the skin with time to make it likely for the development of skin cancers. Especially, nonmelanoma skin cancer takes place because of ultraviolet B.

Also, artificial UV light sources, like tanning beds and sun lamps also increase your risk related to the development of skin cancer.

Repetition of sunburn because of the sun or artificial light sources may cause your skin vulnerable towards nonmelanoma skin cancer.

In most of the cases, nonmelanoma skin cancer never runs in family members. However, the research studies have revealed a few of the families have a relatively higher than an approximate number of family members developing the condition. For instance, if your parent has/has squamous cell carcinoma, your risk to develop the problem becomes 2times to 3times high as compared to the average rate. If you have a family history related to melanoma, your risk to get the problem increases highly.


Nonmelanoma skin cancer affects the cells of one’s skin severely and it may take place because of many reasons, which include ultraviolet rays, family history, and risk factors.


Also Read: