Are You at Higher Risk of Skin Cancer

Although anyone can contract skin cancer, certain aspects increase the likelihood that a person will develop a condition at some point in their lives. Some of these causes are genetic, but others stem from a person’s lifestyle and hobbies. To help people identify their risk level for skin cancer, Dermatology Associates of Central New York discusses some of the most prominent factors that lead to the disease.

Genetic Makeup

A person’s personal and family history can inform their level of risk for obtaining skin cancer. People whose parents or siblings have had skin cancer should be more cautious with skincare, as they face a heightened possibility of suffering from a condition. Similarly, those who had skin cancer in the past are more likely to get the disease again than those who never had it before.

Some inherited medical issues, such as xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) and Gorlin syndrome, can put people at a greater risk for skin cancer. These conditions impact the body’s ability to repair skin following UV damage. Individuals with these disorders may have skin cancer early on in life.

Gender influences the risk level for skin cancer, as well. By and large, men are at a higher risk for developing basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas than women.


Even if a person has no skin cancer in their medical history, their physical features can dictate their potential for getting the disease. For instance, people with fair skin tend to be at an elevated risk for cancer compared to those with darker complexions. Other characteristics that amplify the threat of skin cancer include:

  • Red or blonde hair
  • Blue or green eyes
  • Skin more prone to burning, freckling, or reddening
  • Skin that causes discomfort in the sun
  • Irregular moles, such as dysplastic nevi


As with other diseases, a person’s risk of getting skin cancer rises as they age. The number of sunburns they amassed throughout their lives finally catches up with them, leading to skin cancer symptoms for conditions like melanoma.

Older adults may also develop skin cancer because of separate medical problems that suppress their immune systems. For example, people who undergo organ transplants often receive therapies that weaken their immunity. Granted, individuals at any age can suffer from these conditions, but healthcare issues tend to compound for aging people and their need for transplants and surgeries is generally higher than it is for younger adults and children.


Where a person lives can increase their chances of having skin cancer, as well. In higher elevations, UV light is more intense because the atmosphere cannot filter out the rays as effectively as it would on land. Similarly, UV rays are stronger in environments close to the equator.

Outdoor Activity 

Spending time outside on a bright day can be rejuvenating, but it can also be dangerous if people get too much exposure to the sun. On hot summer days when UV radiation is more intense, a person needs more sunscreen to limit their risk for skin cancer. Individuals who work outdoors for the majority of the day, such as those at construction sites or amusement parks, should also be aware of their enhanced risk of developing a disease.

Lifestyle Habits

When it comes to one’s lifestyle, certain habits could elevate their risk. For example, the heightened possibility of skin cancer is just one of the many risks of smoking. Smokers tend to experience squamous cell carcinoma on their lips. Along the same vein, exposure to some chemicals, like arsenic and coal, translates into a greater risk for skin cancer.

Meanwhile, some people often bask in the sun – or visit a local tanning salon – in hopes of getting a tan for beauty purposes, but this practice also comes with a health benefit. Tanning is the body’s natural reaction to UV light, and it protects skin damage from compounding. That said, it does not guarantee a person will not develop skin cancer. Additionally, people who choose the artificial option of tanning beds may augment their risk for skin disease.

Find Treatment at Dermatology Associates of Central New York

Patients suffering from melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, or a similar condition can seek effective skin cancer treatment options from Dermatology Associates of Central New York. The experienced doctors and staff are committed to providing customized, comprehensive, and compassionate care and use state-of-the-art procedures to treat various types of skin cancer. Contact the office in Fayetteville, NY, to learn more about skin cancer diagnoses and treatments.


Scroll to Top