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Skin Cancer

Examination & Treatment

Skin Cancer Risk Factors

Risk Factors for Skin Cancer


People at higher risk of skin cancer are those who:


  • previously had a skin cancer and/or have a family history of skin cancer

  • have a large number of moles on their skin

  • have a skin type that is sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and burns easily

  • have a history of severe/blistering sunburns

  • spend lots of time outdoors, unprotected, during their lifetime

  • actively tan or use solariums or sunlamps

  • work outdoors


Family History


Sun exposure is the cause of most skin cancer. Less than 5% of all melanomas can be explained by an inherited gene.

Risk factors for family skin cancer include:


  • a personal history of melanoma at an early age or a personal history of more than one melanoma a blood relative diagnosed with melanoma at an early age

  • a blood relative diagnosed with more than one melanoma

  • a blood relative diagnosed with melanoma of the eye.


A Large Number of Moles


Moles are overgrowths of melanocytes (a type of skin cell that produces melanin).


The more moles you have on your skin, the higher the risk of the most dangerous type of skin cancer – melanoma.


We may be born with a few moles, but most of us will develop some on our skin by 15 years of age. The average Australian will develop 20-30 moles by their third decade.


The number of moles we develop is determined by genetic (inherited) factors as well as exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.


Our risk is higher if we have:


  • more than 200 moles on our body

  • more than 13 moles on either arm

  • large or unusual looking moles.

Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your doctor. Dr Green would be happy to address any questions you may have. You are able to book an appointment at Sydney City Skin Cancer Clinic (via O'Connell St Clinic) by calling 02 9241 1577, or by clicking the "Book Now" button. 




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