The Basics: am I at risk for skin cancer?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning beds, tanning booths, or sunlamps.

Anyone can get skin cancer. The risk is highest for people with:

  • Fair (light-colored) skin with freckles
  • Blond or red hair
  • Blue or green eyes

You are at higher risk for the most dangerous type of skin cancer (melanoma) if you have:

  • Unusual moles (moles that change color, grow unevenly, or change in texture)
  • A large number of moles (more than 50)
  • A family history of melanoma or unusual moles
  • Fair skin that burns easily
  • A personal history of many blistering sunburns, especially when you were a child or teenager

Find out more about unusual moles and melanoma risk. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you are concerned.

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