Skin Cancer Risk Factors

To identify your personal risk of skin cancer, review the following risk factors and identify those that relate to you. If you are at a higher risk of skin cancer, take extra care by protecting your skin against the sun and conducting regular checks for any changes.
Exposure to sun
Prolonged exposure to the sun, whether from working outdoors or regular sunbaking, puts your skin at greater risk of skin cancer.
Also, a history of severe sunburns, particularly in childhood, is linked to Melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer.
Skin type
There are certain skin types that are more sensitive to UV radiation and burn more quickly, putting them at greater risk of skin cancer.
* Very pale, white skin that always burns and never tans is highly sensitive to UV radiation and at greatest risk of skin cancer.
* Fair skin that burns easily is very sensitive to UV radiation and at high risk of skin cancer.
* Light brown skin that tans uniformly is still sensitive to UV radiation and at high risk of skin cancer.
* Brown, dark brown and black skin that burns minimally or does not burn has minimal sensitivity to UV radiation but is still at risk of skin cancer (which may be left undetected until later stages).
Moles
People with a large number of moles or many unusually shaped or coloured moles are at a higher risk of skin cancer. A large number of moles equates to more than 10 on your arms and more than 200 all over the body.
Age
The skin of babies, children and young adults up to the age of 18 is more susceptible to damage from UV radiation. Any damage done to your skin during these early years can impact your risk of skin cancer later in life.
Family history
You are at a higher risk of skin cancer if you or a blood relative has been diagnosed or died from a melanoma or if more than one family member has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Solariums
People who actively use (or have used in the past) solariums, sunlamps or sunbeds are at greater risk of skin cancer. Solariums use UV radiation to give people a tan. Any exposure to UV radiation increases your lifetime dose of UV radiation and adds to your risk of skin cancer.

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