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Skin Cancer Risk Factors

​Skin Cancer Risk Factors

UPMC Content 3

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.