Skin Cancer

Melanoma is less common than non-melanoma skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, but it is more serious. The factors that increase a person's chance of getting melanoma are

  • unusual moles (normally benign clusters of melanocytes)
  • large quantity of ordinary moles (more than 50)
  • white or light-colored (fair) skin, especially with freckles.

Other factors that increase a person's chance of getting melanoma are

  • blond or red hair
  • blue or green eyes
  • being older than 20 years of age
  • severe, blistering sunburns earlier in life.

Someone who has one or more of these risk factors has a greater chance of getting skin cancer than someone who does not have these risk factors. However, having these risk factors does not guarantee a person will get cancer. Many genetic and environmental factors play a role in causing cancer.