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How can I gauge my risk of getting skin cancer?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology

If you have fair skin (Fitzpatrick types 1, 2, or 3) with light hair and light eyes, you are at high risk.

If you have a family history of skin cancer or have had a skin cancer (or any other cancer) in the past, you are at high risk.

If you have more than fifty moles on your body, you are at high risk.

If you are a smoker or frequent tanning beds, your chances of getting skin cancer are greatly increased.

If you spend a majority of your time outdoors or have had a lot of sun damage, you are at very high risk, and if you don't use sunscreen regularly, you've put yourself in double jeopardy.

The problem with talking about increased risk is that the people who aren't tagged as high risk think they are safe and don't protect themselves or get skin checks. Anyone with skin is in danger of developing skin cancer. That's why we all need to be on our guard with sunscreen and skin checks.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.