While anyone can get skin cancer, some people are at a greater risk for this condition than others. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in America, and it’s important to remember that any time you get a tan, you injure and damage your skin. Sometimes, skin cancer can be debilitating and make it impossible to work or function as you normally would. If this happens, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
Primary Risk Factors Linked to Skin Cancer
There are many reasons people get skin cancer. But there are certain primary risk factors linked to developing this condition, including:
- If you have a history of sunburns. A person has a greater risk for developing skin cancer as an adult if he’s had at least one bad sunburn as a child or teen.
- If you have fair skin. If you are fair-skinned, you have less pigment or melanin in your skin. This means you have less protection from UV radiation. Also, if you freckle easily, have light-colored eyes, or have blond or red hair, you’re more likely to develop skin cancer.
- If you have a personal history or family history of skin cancer. If a parent or sibling has had skin cancer, you may be at a greater risk for this condition.
- If you have many moles. You’re at an increased risk of skin cancer if you have many moles or abnormal moles on your skin—moles that look irregular or larger than others.
Other Risk Factors for Skin Cancer
Aside from the primary risk factors for skin cancer, there are others you should also be aware of, including:
- Living in a sunny climate or at high altitudes. People who live in these environments are exposed to more direct and intense radiation.
- Living with a weakened immune system. If a person has been exposed to radiation or has received radiation treatment for conditions like eczema or acne, he may be at a higher risk for developing skin cancer.
- Working or spending time outdoors. If you spend a lot of time in the sun, especially if you don’t wear protective clothing or use sunscreen, you’re at a greater risk for skin cancer.