Risk factors increase a person’s chance of getting cancer. There are different kinds of risk factors. Some risk factors for cancer, like age and family history, cannot be prevented.
There are some risk factors that have been shown to increase the risk for skin cancer.
- Individuals who are fair skinned
- Anyone who has a personal history of melanoma or skin cancer
- People who have multiple moles—often in the hundreds
- People who have a history of blistering sunburns in childhood
- People who have a history of chronic sun exposure including tanning beds
While these factors may increase the risk of skin cancer, it is also important to remember that anyone can get skin cancer, even dark skinned people of color, and that having a risk factor does not mean that you will get the disease.
Skin Cancer Risk Reduction and Prevention
When it comes to preventing and detecting skin cancer it pays to be mindful and take extra precautions. The best approach to skin cancer is prevention—and when it does occur, early detection is vital to getting the best possible outcome.
The best prevention methods for skin cancer is to avoid sun exposure during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more every day, even in winter.
More prevention methods include:
- Checking your skin once a month
- Seeing a dermatologist annually
- Using sunscreen—enough, the right kind and often—to be effective. To be effective, sunscreens should be broad spectrum, at least SPF 30 and waterproof. It also needs to be applied to all exposed areas of the skin and repeated approximately every two hours or after swimming.
- Wearing protective clothing