Risk Factors For Skin Cancer
Summer is now in full swing, and as temperatures continue to heat up, people are exposing more and more of their skin. Unfortunately, as the skin is exposed, it is vulnerable to the damaging effects of the sun. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than five million cases are diagnosed each year. That is a significant number – one that should definitely get your attention. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
Summers in Georgia are undeniably hot. People tend to either stay indoors with the air conditioning or at the pool where they can cool off in the refreshing water. When it comes to being outside, people are at increased risk for skin cancer. The majority of skin cancers are caused by UV exposure, with the threat growing with the amount of exposure. People who live in areas with bright, year-round sun exposure are at a greater risk of developing skin cancer. Also, people who experienced frequent sunburns as a child have a higher increase of skin cancer.
Knowing the risk factors for skin cancer can help you keep your skin safe. These common skin cancer risk factors include:
- Age – The risk of skin cancer increases as people age. This is likely due to the accumulated exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Skin cancer can also develop in younger individuals who spend a lot of time in the sun.
- Gender – Men are nearly two times more likely to develop basal cell carcinomas and three times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinomas than women.
- Skin tone – Caucasians have a greater risk of developing skin cancer than non-whites. The risk also increases in those with naturally blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, or skin that freckles or burns easily.
- Family history – If someone has a parent or sibling who has had skin cancer, he is at a greater risk. A person who has previously been diagnosed with skin cancer is also at an increased risk of developing the disease again.
- Smoking – Smokers are more likely to develop squamous cell skin cancers. Smoking decreases a person’s immune system, making him less able to defend against disease.
At Spectrum Dermatology, we encourage everyone to apply sunscreen year-round as the best form of skin protection. However, it is also best to stay in the shade between 10 am and 2 pm when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest during the day.
Skin cancer screenings are essential and should be done annually. This simple appointment could save your life! Schedule your appointment with Spectrum Dermatology today.