Do You Know Your Skin Cancer Risk?
Jacqueline Ho | Sept 9, 2014 Aug 29, 2014
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People with fair skin are more susceptible to skin cancer.
True. People with light features in general are typically more likely to develop skin cancer than those with darker features, due to lesser amounts of skin-protecting pigments in their skin cells. Such light features include fair skin, freckles, red or blonde hair, and blue or green eyes.
Certain occupations can contribute to skin cancer risk.
True. Jobs that require employees to work many hours outdoors may contribute to an increased risk of skin cancer. Being exposed to the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. is particularly dangerous, as the sun's rays are most intense during these hours. If your job requires outdoor work, take precautions by wearing protective clothing and always wearing sunscreen with at least 15 SPF.
Moles are almost never a sign of skin cancer.
False. People who have a large number of moles may have a higher risk of skin cancer, according to most experts. Specifically, moles that are larger than a pencil eraser and have an irregular shape are known to be associated with a greater chance of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. If you have moles, it is important to check with your doctor on a regular basis to ensure they are non-cancerous.
More than 15 percent of melanomas are due to an inherited gene.
False. Family history does play a role in a person's chances of developing skin cancer, however. If you have a blood relative who was diagnosed with melanoma at an early age, you may have a greater risk of also developing melanoma. But most cases of skin cancer are caused by sun exposure and studies have shown that only about five percent of melanoma cases are due to an inherited gene.
The effects of sunburns are only temporary.
False. The effects of sunburns are long-lasting. A person who has had five or more sunburns nearly doubles his or her risk of developing malignant melanoma, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. People whose skin is sensitive and easily burns should take extra precaution when it comes to sun protection methods.
Using tanning beds can double your risk of skin cancer.
True. You probably know that using tanning beds isn't good for your health, but you might not have known that people who use a tanning bed or sun lamp may be 2.5 times more likely to develop certain types of skin cancer than people who abstain from UV exposure. If you are trying to get tan, it is best to opt for tanning lotions and sprays.