Risk Factors
 
A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of getting skin cancer.   Sun damage is the No. 1 risk factor for skin cancer.  Moreover, “artificial (ultraviolet) sunlight” used in tanning beds and booths causes the same risk for skin cancer as natural sunlight.

Other factors that increase the risk of developing skin cancer include:
 
  • Age – the longer you are exposed to the sun over time, the higher your risk of developing skin cancer
  • Fair complexion, freckles, and blond or red hair
  • You sunburn easily
  • Previous skin cancer
  • Previous skin injuries, such as a major scar or burn
  • Living in a sunny climate
  • Chronic exposure to natural sunlight
  • History of three or more blistering sunburns before age 20
  • Exposure to artificial ultraviolet light (tanning bed/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
  • Actinic keratosis, a precancerous condition that appears as rough, red or brown, scaly patches on the skin
 
Decrease Your Risk

Most skin cancers are preventable.  By incorporating the following steps into your everyday lifestyle, you can greatly decrease the chances that you or your family will develop skin cancer:
 
  • Avoid sun exposure during the sun’s peak hours, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Always apply sunscreen or makeup with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher before going outdoors. If you’ll be in water or sweating, reapply sunscreen throughout the day
  • When working outdoors, in addition to applying sunscreen, wear long sleeves, a hat and gloves
  • Keep infants out of the sun and protect children at all times; apply SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to infants and teach older children to make applying sunscreen before going outside a regular habit
  • Skip the tanning beds/booths; there is no “safe” tan
  • Examine your skin monthly; have any suspicious moles checked by a health-care practitioner
  • If you are at risk, have your skin examined at least once each year by a dermatologist
 
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, we’re here to help. City of Hope is committed to making the process of  becoming a patient here as easy as possible. Call 800-826-HOPE (4673) or complete the online appointment form.