As we mentioned above, your skin cancer risk will determine how often you should be checking your skin — both at home and with an expert.
Everyone’s skin is different and your risk of developing skin cancer or melanoma depends on several factors:
Your skin type
All skin types can be damaged by too much exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays. But people with fair skin or who burn easily are at a higher risk of skin cancer. Those with naturally dark skin do have a lower risk of skin cancer, however this does not make them immune. No matter what your skin type, you should always protect your skin when out in the sun and get regular skin checks.
While skin cancer can happen at any age, your skin cancer risk does increase as you get older. Those who are over 50 years are most at risk.
If you work outdoors, spend a lot of time out in the sun unprotected or have used sunbeds and solariums in the past, you could also be at a higher risk.
Your family and personal history of skin cancer
If someone in your family has had skin cancer, your risk increases — in fact, you’re twice as likely to develop melanoma if someone in your close family (parents, siblings or children) have had it. Likewise, if you’ve had melanoma in the past, your risk of getting it again is nine times higher.
How many moles you have
If you have a high number of moles, your risk of developing melanoma or other skin cancers is higher — even up to seven times more likely if you have more than 100 moles.
How often you’ve been sunburnt
Repeated sunburns can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a person’s risk of melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns. But the report also notes that getting just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence can more than double your chance of developing melanoma later in life.