Just like with every other disease, some people are a lot more at-risk of developing skin cancer than others, so it’s important to learn the things that you need to take into consideration when assessing the chances of you developing skin cancer later down in life. Here are the three most important factors you need to consider:
- Your Age – The risk for developing skin cancer increases as you get older. This is because all the accumulated exposure to UV rays over the years tends to pile up. However, it’s not uncommon nowadays for younger people to be diagnosed with skin cancer, especially those who spend a lot of time in the sun. Another thing to consider as you age is the amount of times you have been sunburned, because that also plays a huge part in regards to your risk of getting any forms of skin cancer. Remember that having 5 or more sunburns throughout the years doubles your risk for melanoma.
- Your Skin Tone – Caucasians with fair skin have a greater risk of developing skin cancer than non-Caucasians. This is because Caucasians have less melanin in their skin, and melanin is what gives skin its color. Another thing melanin does give a little bit of protection against UV rays. Other things to consider besides your skin tone include your hair and your eyes. Those with blonde or red hair, with either blue or green eyes, and those with skin freckles are likely to be more at risk of developing cancer than those who do not have these traits.
- Your Lifestyle – As mentioned, those who like to stay out in the sun for prolonged periods of time are more likely to be at risk for skin cancer. Recent studies have also confirmed that people who like to use artificial tanning booths that use UV light are also at risk for skin cancer all the same. Smokers as well are more likely to develop squamous cell skin cancers, especially localized on the lips. It’s important to try to avoid the sun if possible, or wear protective clothing, seek shade AND wear sunscreen regularly if you do need to be outside. Cutting bad habits like smoking will also help reduce your risk, as well as seeing your dermatologist regularly for skin checks.