Several factors increase the risk of developing skin cancer, including:
- Light skin that freckles easily
- Red or blond hair
- Chronic exposure to natural sunlight
- History of three or more blistering sunburns before age 20
- Exposure to artificial ultraviolet light (tanning booth)
- Occupational exposure (working outside, exposure to coal tar pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds or radium
- Having many moles
- Unusual moles
- Family or personal history of melanoma
- Blue eyes
Decrease Your Risk
Take steps to lower your chances of developing skin cancer:
- Avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Always apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher before going outdoors. When working outdoors, wear long sleeves, a hat and gloves. Reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
- Keep infants out of the sun, and protect children at all times. Apply SPF 15 sunscreen or higher to infants over six months of age.
- Avoid tanning booths. There is no “safe” tan that involves ultraviolet light exposure.
For patients with a family history of melanoma or related skin disorders, a comprehensive genetic risk assessment can be provided by the Cancer Screening & Prevention ProgramSM in City of Hope’s Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics.