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​Skin Cancer Risk Factors

Who Is at Risk?

Skin cancer is becoming more and more prevalent with time, no matter the type.

Did You Know?

  • More than 2 million people in the United States develop more than 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer each year.
  • Almost 50 percent of Caucasian Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal or squamous cell carcinoma at least once in their lifetime.
  • There has been a 2,000 percent increase in melanoma skin cancers since 1930, and that rate is constantly rising. The lifetime risk of developing melanoma is one in 38 for Caucasian men and one in 56 for Caucasian women.

Risk Factors

Established risk factors for skin cancer include:

  • Exposure to and skin damage from sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet radiation, including a history of unprotected sun exposure, sunburns, and use of tanning equipment
  • Red or blonde hair, blue or green eyes, or fair skin that can freckle or easily burn, in both men and women
  • Personal or familial history of skin cancer
  • Presence of precancerous lesions, such as actinic (or solar) keratosis
  • Overexposure to x-rays
  • A weakened immune system due to a chronic illness or an organ transplant, as well as certain genetic disorders

Even in the winter, protecting yourself from the damaging rays of the sun is important, especially if you are involved in recreational activities, such as skiing.

Learn more about skin cancer detection or prevention.

Contact Us

Whether your case is simple or complex, the Skin Cancer Program will help coordinate the interdisciplinary care that you need quickly and effectively.

Call 855-SKN-SPOT (855-756-7768) to be seen in one of our conveniently located offices.

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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