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What are the risk factors for developing basal cell carcinoma?

It is unknown what causes basal cell skin cancer, or basal cell carcinoma.  A number of risk factors have been identified. The most significant is long-term (chronic) exposure to sunlight and other types of radiation. Less common risk factors for basal cell skin cancer include certain gene mutations or genetic diseases and exposure to arsenic.
Jenny C. Hu, MD
Dermatology
The risk factors for developing basal cell carcinoma include high-dose ultraviolet B (UVB) exposures or a lot of sunburns. Exposure to ionizing radiation (any type of x-ray therapy for cancer in the past) is considered a risk factor. Another risk factor is the UVB light that used to be a treatment for severe acne on the face or back. If you had that treatment, your risk of basal cell carcinoma is increased considerably.

Other risk factors include exposure to carcinogenic chemicals such as arsenic, and certain genetic syndromes such as basal cell nevus syndrome, which can cause you to develop basal cell cancers when you are young.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.