How Can UV Rays Cause Skin Cancer? Symptoms and Treatment


How Can UV Rays Cause Skin Cancer? Symptoms and Treatment

Skin cancer is a prevalent and potentially dangerous condition affecting millions worldwide. Among the various risk factors, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is a leading cause of skin cancer. This blog will explore the relationship between UV rays and skin cancer, including symptoms, types, skin cancer causes, and treatment options. We will also discuss who is at risk and highlight preventive measures to maintain healthy skin.

Understanding UV Rays and their Effect on the Skin

UV rays are a form of radiation emitted by the sun, as well as tanning beds and sunlamps. There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While the Earth's ozone layer mostly absorbs UVC rays and does not reach us, UVA and UVB rays penetrate the atmosphere and can damage the skin.

When the skin is exposed to UV radiation, it can lead to various harmful effects, including sunburn, premature ageing, eye damage, and an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Prolonged or repeated exposure to UV rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, causing them to mutate and potentially become cancerous.

How UV Rays Lead to Skin Cancer

Skin cancer occurs when the DNA in skin cells undergoes mutations that cause the cells to grow uncontrollably, forming a cancerous tumour. UV radiation is a major contributing factor to these DNA mutations. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to the skin's DNA, leading to the development of skin cancer over time.

Who is at Risk of Skin Cancer by UV Rays?

While anyone can develop skin cancer, certain factors increase the susceptibility to UV radiation's harmful effects. These include:

  • Fair skin: People with lighter skin have less melanin, the pigment that provides some protection against UV rays.
  • Frequent sun exposure: Spending significant time outdoors, especially during peak sunlight, increases the cumulative exposure to UV rays.
  • Sunburn history: Experiencing blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence raises the risk of skin cancer or cancer skin rash in adulthood.
  • Family history: A family history of skin cancer can indicate a genetic predisposition to the disease.
  • Weakened immune system: Individuals with a compromised immune system, such as organ transplant recipients or those with certain diseases, have an increased risk.

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Symptoms of skin cancer can vary depending on the type of cancer and its stage. It's important to note that not all skin abnormalities indicate cancer. Still, it's essential to monitor any changes in your skin and seek medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms:

1. Moles: Changes in the appearance of existing moles or the development of new moles can be a potential sign of skin cancer. Look for moles that exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.
  • Irregular borders: The mole's edges are not well-defined or have irregular, scalloped borders.
  • Varied colours: The mole may display shades of brown, black, red, white, or blue.
  • Large diameter: Moles larger than 6 millimetres (about the size of a pencil eraser) may be concerning.
  • Evolving: Moles that change in size, shape, colour, or elevation over time should be evaluated.

2. Skin Growths: Pay attention to new growths on the skin that do not heal or go away within a few weeks. These may appear as follows:

  • Firm raised bumps.
  • Red or flesh-coloured patches.
  • Rough or scaly skin.
  • Open sores that do not heal.

3. Non-healing Sores: Persistent sores that do not heal or repeatedly scab and bleed could indicate skin cancer.

4. Itching, Pain, or Sensitivity: Skin cancer may cause persistent itching, pain, tenderness, or sensitivity in the affected area.

5. Changes in Texture: Noticeable changes in the texture of the skin, such as roughness, scaliness, or the formation of crusts, should be examined.

It's important to remember that these symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than skin cancer. However, if you notice any persistent changes or abnormalities in your skin, it is crucial to consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.

Regular self-examinations and yearly skin checks by a healthcare professional are recommended, especially if you have a higher risk of developing skin cancer due to factors such as excessive sun exposure, family history, or fair skin. Early detection and treatment significantly improve the prognosis and outcomes of skin cancer.

Prevention and Treatment

Prevention is key in reducing the risk of skin cancer caused by UV rays. Here are some preventive measures you can take:

  • Limit exposure to the sun, especially during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
  • Seek shade and wear protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats, long sleeves, and sunglasses.
  • Apply sunscreen with a high SPF regularly and reapply every two hours.
  • Avoid indoor tanning beds and booths, as they emit harmful UV radiation.

If you notice any suspicious skin changes or experience symptoms associated with skin cancer, it is important to consult a healthcare professional. Early detection increases the chances of successful treatment. Skin cancer treatment options depend on the type, stage, and location. They may include surgical removal, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. Each type has distinct characteristics, growth patterns, and treatment options. It's important to note that there are other rare skin cancer types, but they are less common than the three mentioned below.

1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It typically develops in skin areas exposed to the sun, such as the face, scalp, neck, and hands. BCC usually grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body. However, if left untreated, it can invade nearby tissues and cause damage. BCC often appears as:

  • A shiny, pearly bump.
  • A pink, red, or brown patch that may be slightly raised.
  • A sore or lesion that doesn't heal or repeatedly crusts and bleeds.
  • Skin cancer dry scaly patches.

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) 

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. It also typically occurs in sun-exposed areas but can develop in others. SCC tends to grow faster than BCC and has a higher risk of spreading to other body parts if not treated promptly. SCC may present as:

  • A firm, red nodule.
  • A rough, scaly patch or growth.
  • An open sore that doesn't heal or reopens.

3. Melanoma

Melanoma is the most aggressive and potentially dangerous form of skin cancer. It develops in the melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the skin. Melanoma can occur in areas with minimal sun exposure and may develop in existing moles. It is more likely to spread to other organs if not detected and treated early. Melanoma can vary in appearance but often presents as:

  • A new mole or an existing mole that changes in size, shape, colour, or elevation.
  • An asymmetrical mole with irregular borders.
  • A mole has various colours, such as different shades of brown, black, red, white, or blue.
  • A mole larger than 6 millimetres in diameter.
  • A mole that is itchy, painful, or bleeds.

It's crucial to consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment if you notice any suspicious skin changes or symptoms. Early skin cancer detection and treatment greatly improve the chances of successful outcomes. Regular self-examinations and professional skin checks are important, especially if you have risk factors such as a history of skin cancer, excessive sun exposure, or a family history of the disease.


Understanding the relationship between UV rays and skin cancer is crucial for prevention and early detection. Taking necessary precautions and protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Regular self-examinations, along with professional dermatological evaluations, can help identify potential skin cancer symptoms at an early stage, leading to more effective treatment outcomes. Remember, protecting your skin today can help ensure a healthier future. Having a mediclaim policy can also benefit financially during an emergency.

>> Also Read: Cervical Cancer Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Disclaimer - The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.

View Our Editorial Policy


+91 verified
Please enter a valid mobile number
Please enter a valid Full Name
I have read and agree to the Terms & Conditions
Please select terms and conditions
Get updates on WhatsApp

Articles By Category

Health Insurance Articles
Family Family
Senior Citizens Senior Citizens
Maternity Maternity
Surgery Surgery
Heart Heart
Tax & Investments Tax & Investments
Lifestyle Lifestyle
Awareness Days Awareness Days
Child Care Child Care
Money Saving Tips Money Saving Tips
Festive Days Festive Days
Covid-19 Covid-19
Travel Insurance Articles
International International
Student Student
Travel Tips Travel Tips
Visa Visa
Passport Passport
Insurance Guide
Health Health
Travel Travel

Secure Your Finances Now!

Get the best financial security with Care Health Insurance!


Reach for Services at
whatApp Icon8860402452


Chat with Us

Please Select Chat Option ×
Buy New policy To explore and buy a new policy
Existing policy enquiry for assistance with your existing policy