Smoking and Risk of Skin Cancer: What You Need to Know

Woman's skin being checked

While ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure has a direct relation to skin cancer, it is not the only cause of this illness. Smoking also increases your risk of developing skin cancer, particularly on the lips. Studies suggest that the habit heightens your risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by more than 50 percent. This is the second most common type of skin cancer and affects hundreds of thousands in the country annually.

Sun exposure, smoking, and skin cancer

SCC and the other type of nonmelanoma skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), are both correlated with sun exposure over time. Revere Health and other experts in skin cancer treatment in Provo note that both commonly appear in sun-exposed areas of the body such as hands, face, and ears. Both types, however, can still appear in non-UV-exposed areas. Smoking, meanwhile, only increases your risk of SCC, not BCC.

Quit and lower your cancer risk

This makes it important to kick the habit for good. This will not just help lower your risk of certain cancers, but also improve the quality of your life. Quitting is hard, but with the right support and resources, you can overcome this bad habit. You can also make a personalized quit plan to boost your chances of success.

Sun protection is important too

Quitting smoking certainly helps, but do not forget that sun protection can also go a long way in preventing skin cancer. It is best to use a sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays. Wearing sun protective clothes and a broad-brimmed hat also helps. The Skin Cancer Foundation also suggests performing a skin self-exam.

If you notice something unusual or suspicious on your skin, it is best to see a doctor immediately. The doctor may perform tests or exam to determine if you have skin cancer. If detected at an early age, SCC is curable and will cause minimal damage. BCC is also treatable, and there are a number of surgery types and therapies that can be done to remove the tumor.