Risk Factors for Skin Cancer


About risk factors: Risk factors for Skin Cancer are factors that do not seem to be a direct cause of the disease, but seem to be associated in some way. Having a risk factor for Skin Cancer makes the chances of getting a condition higher but does not always lead to Skin Cancer. Also, the absence of any risk factors or having a protective factor does not necessarily guard you against getting Skin Cancer. For general information and a list of risk factors, see the risk center.

Risk factor list: The list of risk factors mentioned for Skin Cancer in various sources includes:

Risk factors discussion: Skin cancer is more common in people with light colored skin who have spent a lot of time in the sun. Skin cancer can occur anywhere on your body, but it is most common in places that have been exposed to more sunlight, such as your face, neck, hands, and arms. People who have certain diseases such as lupus erythematosus, or take certain drugs such as prescription acne drugs, some antibiotics, most birth control pills, or sulfa drugs (to name a few) also can have skin that is much more sensitive to the sun's rays. Some topical creams or lotions for acne and wrinkle reduction creams containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can also increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. Always check the product's label to see if it protects the skin from increased sun sensitivity or directs you to use sunscreen products while using it. You also have a higher risk of getting melanoma if:

  • you've already had one malignant melanoma

  • you have many moles, large moles or unusual moles

  • your parents, children or siblings have had melanoma

  • you are White with fair skin

  • you are a redhead or blonde

  • you had a lot of sun exposure in the first 10 to 15 years of life.


Although anyone can get skin cancer, the risk is greatest for people who have fair skin that freckles easily.2

Although anyone can get skin cancer, the risk is greatest for people who have fair skin that freckles easily -- often those with red or blond hair and blue or light-colored eyes.3

people who have been treated for skin cancer have a higher-than-average risk of developing a new cancer elsewhere on the skin. That's why it is so important for them to continue to examine themselves regularly, to visit their doctor for regular checkups, and to follow the doctor's instructions on how to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer again.3

Risks factors for Skin Cancer: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to risk factors for Skin Cancer:

1. excerpt from Skin Cancer: NWHIC
2. excerpt from Skin Care and Aging - Age Page - Health Information: NIA
3. excerpt from What You Need To Know About Skin Cancer: NCI

Last revision: June 16, 2003

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