Risk factors for skin cancer

Anyone can develop skin cancer, but people with fair complexions are more susceptible to precancerous conditions and skin cancer than people with darker skin tones. That’s because darker skin has more melanin, which provides some natural protection against the sun’s damaging rays. In addition to fair skin, other risk factors for skin cancer include:

  • a personal history of skin cancer
  • a tendency to freckle or burn easily
  • lots of sun exposure throughout your life
  • many sunburns as a child or adolescent
  • family history of the skin cancer or conditions that are more likely to develop into skin cancer
  • Chronic,  non-healing scarring
  • Radiation Therapy
  • exposure to toxic materials, such as arsenic, coal tar or creosote
  • exposure to certain subtypes of human papillomavirus (genital warts) especially in people with compromised immune systems
  • taking immunosuppressant drugs (after an organ transplant, for instance)


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