Skin Cancer Risk Factors

Skin Mole

Risk factors for all types of skin cancer include skin that burns easily; blond or red hair; a history of excessive sun exposure, including sunburns; tanning bed use; immune system-suppressing diseases or treatments; and a history of skin cancer. Remember, anyone can get skin cancer. People with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop skin cancer. Risk factors vary for different types of skin cancer.

Who is at risk?

  • The risk of melanoma doubles for people who have had more than five sunburns.
  • People with more than 50 moles, atypical moles, or large moles are also at an increased risk of developing melanoma.
  • Whites and men older than 50 have a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population.
  • Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in females age 15-29.

Skin Cancer in Skin of Color

  • While people with skin of color have a lower risk of developing melanoma, the disease is often diagnosed at later stages in skin of color, when melanoma is more advanced and more difficult to treat.
  • Skin cancer in skin of color is often found on areas of the body that get little sun, such as the soles of the feet, groin, buttocks and inside the mouth.