What are the main risk factors of skin cancer?
Risk factors for skin cancer include fair skin, history of sunburns, excessive sun exposure, use of tanning beds, history of precancerous moles, and family history of skin cancer.
Is it possible to develop skin cancer if your skin does not burn?
Yes. Besides developing from burns, many skin cancers are caused by long-term repeated exposure to UV light, including tanning beds.
Does a tan provide protection against developing skin cancer?
Any tan is damage to the skin and will not prevent the development of skin cancer. Over time repeated tanning will actually increase one’s risk of developing skin cancer.
Is it possible to safely obtain a tan from exposure to ultraviolet radiation?
As noted above, any tan is considered skin damage, so there is no way to safely tan from exposure to UV radiation. However, spray tans are very safe and effective and do not increase one’s risk of developing skin cancer.
What Is Melanoma?
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. If it is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that at present, about 120,000 new cases of melanoma in the US are diagnosed in a year. In 2010, about 68,130 of these were invasive melanomas, with about 38,870 in males and 29, 260 in women.
Melanoma originates in melanocytes, the cells which produce the pigment melanin that colors our skin, hair, and eyes. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but often they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white.
How do I know if I am at risk?