Skin Cancer Risk Factors

  • People who spend time in the sun, or use sun lamps or tanning booths
  • People who smoke
  • People who have blond, red or light brown hair, and blue, gray or green eyes
  • People with fair skin or freckles, or skin that burns easily
  • People with personal or family histories of skin cancer
  • People with certain types of genetic problems that affect the skin
  • People who have been treated with radiation
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who have several moles on their bodies, especially if they have had some moles since they were born
  • People who have odd moles or one or more large colored spots on their skin
  • People who have had contact with certain chemicals, such as arsenic in drinking water
  • People whose skin is damaged from injury or from long-term inflammation
  • People with HPV (human papillomavirus)

Men are more likely than women to get non-melanoma skin cancer. People who are white are more likely to develop melanoma than are African Americans. However, anyone with any skin color may develop skin cancer. The risk for skin cancer increases as people get older.