Risk Factors & Symptoms

What Makes Skin Cancer More Likely?

Although anyone can get skin cancer, it is typically more common among people with light or fair skin color.  

Other Risk Factors Include:

  • Exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet radiation from tanning booths
  • Frequent, blistering sunburns, especially early in life 
  • A personal history of skin cancer 
  • Having more than 50 moles
  • Possible genetic factors (mutations in certain genes, family history, etc.)
  • Others may include radiation therapy, certain conditions that suppress the immune system or exposure to high levels of arsenic 

Finding Skin Cancer – The Earlier, The Better

  • Tell your doctor if you notice changes or anything unusual on your skin
  • Do monthly skin checks – check all the surfaces of your skin, including in between your toes, under your nails and on your back and buttocks 
  • Get to know your moles so that you can tell if they begin to change in shape, size or color. 

Remember the ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer: 

  • Asymmetry The shape of one half does not match the other. 
  • Border The edges are often ragged, notched, blurred, or irregular in outline; the pigment may spread into the surrounding skin. 
  • Color The color is uneven. Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, grey, red, pink, or blue also may be seen. 
  • Diameter There is a change in size, usually an increase.
  • Evolving— Changes in size, shape, color, elevation, or other change, or any symptoms such bleeding, itching or crusting.

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