Causes of Skin Cancer
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation comes from the sun, sunlamps, tanning beds, or tanning booths. A person's risk for skin cancer is related to lifetime exposure to UV radiation. Most skin cancer appears after age 50, but the sun damages the skin from an early age.
Although UV radiation affects everyone, people who have fair skin that freckles or burns easily are at greater risk. These people often also have red or blond hair and light-colored eyes. However, even people who tan can get skin cancer.
People who live in areas that get high levels of UV radiation have a higher risk of skin cancer. In the United States, areas in the south (such as Texas and Florida) get more UV radiation than areas in the north (such as Minnesota). Also, people who live in the mountains get high levels of UV radiation. It is important to note that UV radiation is present even in cold weather or on a cloudy day.
If you think you may be at risk for skin cancer, you should discuss this concern with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to suggest ways to reduce your risk and can plan a schedule for checkups.