Why sunburns can cause skin cancer but getting yourself burn on a hot surface can’t?


I’m not completely sure about this, during the summer we get tons of warnings about protecting ourselves from the sun, but once I was burn with hot oil while cooking and no one in the hospital told me anything about skin cancer risks.

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8 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

The cancer part of sunburns doesn’t come from the heat of the sun. It occurs because the sun is sending 1000s of “mini bullets” (ionizing radiation) that rip through your DNA. With any luck, all the issues caused will be caught and not develop into cancer. But if the “mini bullet” hits the wrong part of the DNA, and your body doesn’t catch it, cancer.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The heat from the sun isn’t what burns you (or everything would be melted and we’d all be dead). It’s the radiation.

And as we know, radiation causes cancer.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma radiation are all frequencies which can knock electrons off of atoms. By changing the molecular content of specific genes in DNA, you can disrupt several systems and cause mutations. Many mutations may be corrected on duplication, but one mutation may cause a cell to replicate endlessly without any mechanism to stop.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A sunburn is tissue damage from ultraviolet light. It can damage cells when it hit them. It can change DNA and other parts of the cell.

Most damaged cells will detect it and go apoptosis, programmed cell death, so the cell kills itself and gets broken down into it’s constituent part. A sunburn feels warm for a long time because the body increases the blood flow to that part to transport away the remnants of dead cells.

Cells that kill themself like that might sound stage but in an adult, there is normally 50-70 billion cells that do that each day.

Radiation poisoning is in part that too many cells kill themselves and the body can take care of what is produced and it reaches a level that can kill you. Another part is that too few working cells remain to do a required task.

Skin cancer is if the damage is to the DNA in a part that controls how the cell division is regulated. If the damage is not detected and the cell kills itself it might just start to divide itself and create two new cells that continue to do that. Cancer is in human cells that just grow with no limits.

If you burn yourself by touching something hot it will damage cells from the heat. There is not a large risk that a cell gets heated so just a part of the DNA is changed and the cell survives and can cause cancer. If heat can change the DAN the rest of the cell will be screwed.

You can get heat damage like that from the sun too, it requires concentration of the like by for example a lens. So you can burn your skin with a magnifying glass, and it can hurt within seconds do test it on some wood or something else, be careful because it is a way to start a fire.

The lenses in your eye can concentrate light like that, that is why you can quite quickly get eye damage if you look at the sun but your skin does not get burned the same way when you are out in the sun.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A hot surface burn is your cells getting destroyed by heat.

A sunburn is your cells self-destructing.
The sun throws off UV radiation, which might damage the DNA of a cell. Most of the time the cell detects this damage and self-destructs.
But it’s possible that the cell does not detect this damage, which might be in an area that stops it from replicating itself, and the body’s immune system might miss that malfunction.
So the cell starts replicating out of control, and that’s cancer.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The sun’s radiation mutates your cells. Getting burned on the stove causes cell damage, but not mutation.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Burning yourself technically can (anything that requires wound healing – and thus more cell division – very slightly raises your risk of cancer).

But it’s a lesser issue than getting a skinful of ultraviolet radiation. And it happens way less often. If you were getting burned or carved up a couple times a week for most of your life, you would have a higher (but still low) chance of getting cancer. But you’d also probably have some more immediate problems.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Thank you all! I burned myself again last week, the scar has a lot of different colors and it made me wonder why I shouldn’t care a lot about it.