Skin Cancer risk factors
There are several factors that may increase the risk of developing a skin cancer.
Previous skin cancer
Being diagnosed with a non melanoma skin cancer means that you have about a 10 times higher risk of a second one.
A diagnosis of melanoma means that you have a 3 times higher than average risk of getting a non melanoma skin cancer.
Family history of skin cancer
Most non-melanoma skin cancers don’t run in families. But research has found some families seem to have a higher number than normal.
People from fair-skinned families will be more at risk. But there might also be some other inherited genes that slightly increase the risk of non melanoma skin cancer in some families.
You have an increased risk of developing a squamous cell skin cancer (SCC) if one of your parents has had an SCC. People who have a family history of melanoma have an increased risk of basal cell skin cancer (BCC).
Most skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun. This may be long-term exposure, or short periods of intense sun exposure and burning. The ultraviolet light in sunlight damages the DNA in the skin cells. This damage can happen years before a cancer develops.
Other risk factors
The longer you are exposed to the sun over time, the higher your risk of developing skin cancer.
A fair complexion, blond or red hair, freckles, blue eyes and/or a tendency to sunburn.
Working around coal tar, arsenic compounds, creosote, pitch and paraffin oil.
Previous skin injuries
e.g. a major scar or burn.
This is a precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin.