When it comes to skin cancer, the primary risk factor for both melanoma and non-melanoma cancers is exposure to ultraviolet light. This includes both tanning bed and sunlight.

The more exposure to UV, the higher the risk of developing skin cancer. Childhood sunburns also increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

That being said, there are other key risk factors that you should know that increase the risk of skin cancer.

General Skin Cancer Risk Factors

  1. Age – Skin cancer risk increases as you age due to the accumulation of UV radiation exposure.
  2. Immune suppression – An immune system that is suppressed due to viruses, disease, or immune suppression therapy (as with organ transplantation) can increase the risk of skin cancer.
  3. Gender – Men are roughly two times more likely to develop basal cell carcinomas and three times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinomas than women.

Body-Specific Cancer Risk Factors

  1. Skin tone – The lighter your skin tone, the higher your risk for developing skin cancer. For people with highly pigmented skin, skin cancer is more prevalent on the underside of the hands, the soles of the feet, and nail beds.
  2. Moles – Most moles are harmless but having a large number may increase the risk of developing melanoma. People with dysplastic nevi – moles that resemble melanoma – have an additional increased risk of about 10% for skin cancer.

Genetic Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  1. Family and/or personal history – People with a family history of skin cancer and people who have previously had skin cancer are at an increased risk.
  2. Inherited conditions – Certain conditions like xeroderma pigmentosum which is an inherited condition that affects the skin’s ability to repair UV damage are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Lifestyle Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  1. Smoking – Smokers are more likely to develop skin cancer on their lips.
  2. Chemical exposure – Exposure to certain chemicals in large quantities increase the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer. This includes arsenic, industrial tar, coal, paraffin, and certain types of oil.
  3. UV exposure – People who work outdoors during the day or spend a lot of recreational time outdoors are at an increased risk for skin cancer. People who choose to use tanning beds are also at an increased risk.

Medical Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  1. Basal cell nevus syndrome – People with this syndrome, also know as Gorlin syndrome often develop many basal carcinomas over their lifetime.
  2. Viruses – Certain types of HPV, particularly those that affect the area around the genitals or anus may increase the risk of skin cancer. Kaposi sarcoma, associated with herpes virus are also at a higher risk for skin cancer.
  3. Radiation exposure – If you’ve been treated with radiation as part of a medical treatment, the exposed areas can have an increased risk of skin cancer.
  4. Psoriasis treatment – If a person has been treated for psoriasis with a combination of psoralen and ultraviolet light they may be at an increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma or other skin cancers.

We recommend getting a skin scan with us, or your regularly dermatologist at least once a year. If you’ve had skin cancer before or are a high risk candidate, more frequently may be appropriate. If you’re in the Wilmington, Supply, or Hampstead area, give us a call at (910) 794-5355 to book your annual skin scan today. It could save your life!

When it comes to skin cancer, the primary risk factor for both melanoma and non-melanoma cancers is exposure to ultraviolet light. This includes both tanning bed and sunlight.

The more exposure to UV, the higher the risk of developing skin cancer. Childhood sunburns also increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

That being said, there are other key risk factors that you should know that increase the risk of skin cancer.

General Skin Cancer Risk Factors

  1. Age – Skin cancer risk increases as you age due to the accumulation of UV radiation exposure.
  2. Immune suppression – An immune system that is suppressed due to viruses, disease, or immune suppression therapy (as with organ transplantation) can increase the risk of skin cancer.
  3. Gender – Men are roughly two times more likely to develop basal cell carcinomas and three times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinomas than women.

Body-Specific Cancer Risk Factors

  1. Skin tone – The lighter your skin tone, the higher your risk for developing skin cancer. For people with highly pigmented skin, skin cancer is more prevalent on the underside of the hands, the soles of the feet, and nail beds.
  2. Moles – Most moles are harmless but having a large number may increase the risk of developing melanoma. People with dysplastic nevi – moles that resemble melanoma – have an additional increased risk of about 10% for skin cancer.

Genetic Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  1. Family and/or personal history – People with a family history of skin cancer and people who have previously had skin cancer are at an increased risk.
  2. Inherited conditions – Certain conditions like xeroderma pigmentosum which is an inherited condition that affects the skin’s ability to repair UV damage are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Lifestyle Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  1. Smoking – Smokers are more likely to develop skin cancer on their lips.
  2. Chemical exposure – Exposure to certain chemicals in large quantities increase the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer. This includes arsenic, industrial tar, coal, paraffin, and certain types of oil.
  3. UV exposure – People who work outdoors during the day or spend a lot of recreational time outdoors are at an increased risk for skin cancer. People who choose to use tanning beds are also at an increased risk.

Medical Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

  1. Basal cell nevus syndrome – People with this syndrome, also know as Gorlin syndrome often develop many basal carcinomas over their lifetime.
  2. Viruses – Certain types of HPV, particularly those that affect the area around the genitals or anus may increase the risk of skin cancer. Kaposi sarcoma, associated with herpes virus are also at a higher risk for skin cancer.
  3. Radiation exposure – If you’ve been treated with radiation as part of a medical treatment, the exposed areas can have an increased risk of skin cancer.
  4. Psoriasis treatment – If a person has been treated for psoriasis with a combination of psoralen and ultraviolet light they may be at an increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma or other skin cancers.

We recommend getting a skin scan with us, or your regularly dermatologist at least once a year. If you’ve had skin cancer before or are a high risk candidate, more frequently may be appropriate. If you’re in the Wilmington, Supply, or Hampstead area, give us a call at (910) 794-5355 to book your annual skin scan today. It could save your life!

Love the skin you're in! Schedule your skin checkup now!

Make sure you don’t have any spots, moles, or rough patches of skin that need attention while it’s still early and treatable.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Want blog highlights in your inbox on a monthly basis? How about if we throw in some deals and specials too? Now we're talkin'!

You have Successfully Subscribed!