Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is considered the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. With more than 2 million people diagnosed annually, it’s a form of the disease almost everyone needs to be concerned about. After all, the disease impacts more people each year than incidences of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined, according to the American Cancer Society.
But, how can you tell if you are at risk for this disease? There are a number of factors that might make one person more likely to develop skin cancer than another. Here are just a few of the risk factors:
- Lifetime sun exposure – Exposure to the sun’s damaging UV rays over the course of a lifetime can promote the development of skin cancer. Even in colder regions, it’s important to be aware that sunblock is needed. Sunlight can reflect just as easily off snow and ice as it does sand and pavement.
- Severe, blistering sunburns – People who have had at least one severe sunburn are at higher risk for developing skin cancer than those who have not. Even sunburns experienced as a child can create problems down the road.
- Family history – People with a family history of melanoma may find themselves at higher risk for the development of skin cancer.
Certain medications or medical conditions – Medications, such as some antibiotics or antidepressants, can increase the risk. It’s also possible for those with immune suppressing conditions to experience a higher risk for the development of skin cancer.
There are a host of other potential risk factors. The best advice, however, is to keep a close eye on the skin, avoid UV rays, wear sunblock, and get any unusual moles checked out by a doctor.
Skin cancer is the most common form of this disease. Knowing the risk factors can help you avoid its development in some cases.