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    What Increases Your Risk

    Risk factors (things that increase your risk) for nonmelanoma skin cancer include:

    • Sunlight, sun lamps, and tanning beds. These expose you to ultraviolet (UV)radiation.
      • UV radiation affects people of all skin types, but especially those with light skin color, freckles, blond or red hair, and blue or light-colored eyes.
      • Where you live makes a difference. People who live closer to the equator get more UV radiation. And people who live at higher altitudes, such as in the mountains, get more UV radiation.
    • A family history of skin cancer or a personal history of skin cancer. Or other things that affect your skin, such as:
      • Inherited genetic disorders, such as xeroderma pigmentosum.
      • A history of severe sunburns, especially during childhood.
      • Scars from severe burns or inflammatory skin conditions.
    • Being older than 40.
    • Being male. Men develop skin cancer more often than women.
    • Smoking.
    • Repeated exposure to X-rays, certain chemicals (such as arsenic, coal tar, creosote), and radioactive substances (such as radium).
    • Being infected with a certain type of human papillomavirus (HPV).

    Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can occur in people with dark skin. But these cancers are much more common in people with light skin.

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    The risk of squamous cell carcinoma is higher in people who have weakened immune systems. This includes people who have had organ transplants and take medicines to prevent rejection of the new organ.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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