Although we all need to take precautions against skin cancer, those who are at particularly high risk for melanoma — the most deadly form of the disease — need to be especially vigilant.
What puts you in that category?
After looking at 43 different characteristics in 300 melanoma patients and 300 healthy controls, researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have reached a consensus on the six factors that count most:
- History of blistering sunburns as a teenager;
- red or blond hair;
- marked freckling of the upper back;
- family history of melanoma;
- history of actinic keratoses — considered the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer;
- outdoor summer jobs for three or more years as a teenager.
If you have one of these factors, your lifetime risk of melanoma goes up 200 to 300 percent. Two factors: 500 to 1,000 percent. With three or more, it’s a whopping 2,000 percent increase.
Be extra diligent about wearing sunblock, seeing a dermatologist at least yearly, and acting fast if you have a new or changing mole. We recomend these top blocks.