Are You at a Higher Risk for Skin Cancer?
Certain people are at a higher risk for developing either sun damage or skin cancer. So how do you know if you may be at risk? There are a few different factors that can increase your risk for developing skin cancer. If you are worried you might be in danger, read on to learn about the most common risk factors for skin cancer!
Skin type is one of the main factors for evaluating your risk for skin cancer. Essentially, there are six main type of skin phototypes — from light to dark. Those with fair or light skin are at a higher risk that those with darker complexions. This is due to the fact that skin types with more pigmentation actually have more protection from the sun. However, just because you have a darker complexion, that doesn’t mean you won’t still develop skin cancer. Additional individual risk factors can include those with:
- Blue, green, or hazel eyes
- Light-colored hair
- A tendency to burn rather than tan
- A history of several sunburns
- Numerous moles
- A genetic or family history of skin cancer
Age & Gender Factors
As you grow older, the risk of squamous and basal cell skin cancer increases. This is due to the fact that older people have been exposed to the sun for a greater amount of time. However, we are seeing skin cancers in younger people, most like due to the time they are spending in the sun without sun protection. Men are twice as likely as women to develop basal cell cancers, and three times more likely to have squamous cell cancers. Again, this may be due to the fact they often spend more time in the sun.
Other Risk Factors
Other risk factors include a weakened immune system, certain hereditary diseases, HPV infection, psoriasis treatments, smoking, and arsenic exposure. Arsenic is used to make certain insecticides, and it can also be found in well water in some areas. Additionally, if you have undergone radiation treatment, you may be at a higher risk of skin cancer in the treatment area. This can be especially problematic for children you have undergone radiation treatments.
Early Detection is Key
Dr. Thomas Wright of the Laser Lipo and Vein Center says, “If you are in any of these risk groups, it is important to understand the possible signs of skin cancer, especially any changes in moles. At our Center, we know how important it is to catch skin cancer in its earliest stages, and we provide services that can help identify skin cancer early.”
If you think you might be at risk for skin cancer, don’t wait any longer to schedule an appointment with a doctor. Early detection of cancer is very important for proper, effective treatment. Call a doctor today!