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ask: Should I be worried about skin cancer if I had a lot of sunburns?

By Jenny Housh HERWriter
 
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When I was little, I grew up around the beach. Each week I would spend hours outside, at picnics, running, biking and lots of other things - all outdoors. Because of this, I would get sunburned a lot. Now that i'm older, I tan really well, but am afraid I am going to get skin cancer. Is there a link between the amount of sunburns you've had and skin cancer? 

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Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Hi Jenny

Thanks for your question! 

I got many childhood burns too - nobody used sunscreen! 

Unfortunately, you (and I) have an increased risk of skin cancer due to multiple burns. 

Additional risk factors for skin cancer include: 

  • Fair skin that freckles easily
  • Red or blonde hair
  • Light-colored eyes
  • Age: 50 or older
  • Sex: male
  • Race: White people who live in places where the sun's rays are strong year-round
  • Excessive sun exposure without protective clothing or sunscreen
  • Exposure to arsenic, industrial tar, coal, paraffin, and certain types of oil (for squamous cell carcinoma)
  • Radiationtreatment
  • Light treatments forpsoriasis, especially PUVA
  • Chronic, nonhealing wounds (for squamous cell carcinoma)
  • Certain genetic diseases such as basal cell nevus syndrome or xeroderma pigmentosum

You should make sure you get your body checked for signs of any skin cancer (or changes) once a year, especially if you live in a hot, sunny climate. 

Having a doctor check for you is best since they can check places you cannot (back of head, neck, shoulders, ears) etc. Have someone you know give you a check up now and again too, to be sure. 

If you detect any chances in your skin or moles, get checked out and always use a factor 30 or 50 sunscreen and hats! 

A peron who has skin cancer that is caught early has a great chance of a full recovery. 

Has this helped?

Best,

Susan

July 25, 2014 - 10:14am
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