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Who are most at risk of skin cancer?

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Dr. Sunaina Hameed, Dermatologist, Skin Health, Bangalore talks about the risk factors that may make an individual more susceptible to skin cancer.

Skin cancer refers to an abnormal growth of the skin cells. Skin cancer is of non-melanoma and melanoma type. Non-melanoma forms include basal and squamous cell carcinomas.

“Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Individuals with light skin are at greater risk of skin cancer than others. Treatment and prognosis will depend on the kind of cancer that a person has.”

You are more likely to get skin cancer if you:

  • Are of Caucasian race
  • Have red or blonde hair
  • Have fair skin
  • Have light colour eyes
  • Are having moles and freckles on skin
  • Easily suffer from sunburns
  • Have a family history of skin cancer
  • Sunbath and tan without proper sunscreen protection

If you are one of the individuals with a higher chance of getting skin cancer, take precautionary measures to cut down the risk  by:

  • Avoiding the afternoon sun
  • Wear sunscreen with minimum of SPF 15
  • Cover your skin well
  • Avoid getting sunburnt
  • Avoid sunbathing and tanning
  • Cut down smoking and alcohol consumption

If you notice any new growth on the skin or changes in the colour or shape of existing moles, freckles or a patch on the skin, consult a dermatologist. Remember, you may not experience any cancer symptoms initially. Early detection and treatment of skin cancer will make things easier.

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