A risk factor is an attribute that predicts increased probability of developing a disease or injury. In the case of cancer, it is a combination of multiple risk factors that make an individual susceptible to getting skin cancer. There are risk factors that are under your control and there are others which cannot be controlled and nothing can be done much about changing them.
Risk factors are indicators for keeping a tab on symptoms that can be controlled. There may be chances of catching a disease early especially skin cancer and devising an effective treatment plan.
There are many risk factors to skin cancer, these include:
Older age – It is age dependent and chances of getting cancer increase with age since it reflects accumulated exposure to UV radiation.
Daily exposure – Irrespective of age, the more the time spent in the sun, the higher the chances of getting skin cancer.
Weakened immune system – Poor immunity and prolonged use of immuno-suppressants in conditions like organ transplantation may increase your cancer risks.
Gender – Male members are thrice more likely to develop skin cancers than women.
Moles – Although not all moles may lead to cancer, yet presence of a large number of moles may lead to an increased risk towards developing skin cancer. It is good to show your moles to a dermatologist who can help you find out the chances of it leading to skin cancer. There are certain specific mole types that might be dangerous, although the gross appearance still looks like the harmless mole.
Past history of skin disease/inflammation – Those who have had a history of burns, bone infections and any inflammatory skin disease are at higher risk for developing skin cancer.
Genetics plays a major role and those with family history of skin diseases and cancer are at increased risk for developing skin cancer. Any inherited genetic disease may also lead to getting the cancer.
Smoking – Smokers are more prone to developing skin cancers, particularly on the lips
Chemical exposure – Exposure to certain chemicals like arsenic, industrial tar, coal, paraffin may further increase chances of getting skin cancer. A lot of cosmetics are loaded with chemicals that are not safe for skin, and might cause cancer on prolonged and regular use
Radiation exposure – Treatment with high energy radiations may also increase the risk for developing skin cancers in the exposed area
Psoriasis treatment – Prior treatment for skin diseases like psoriasis, ultraviolet light treatment
Know more about Signs & Treatments for Skin Cancer.