Am I at risk?

Yes. In fact, everyone is at risk, as we are all exposed to the sun. Due to variations in skin types, some people are more at risk than others. Check your risk level below:

Swipe left and right to see the whole table.

Skin type Typical features Tanning ability Skin cancer risk
1
Very fair, pale, white, freckles
Always burns, does not tan
Great risk
2
Fair, white
Burns easily, tans poorly
High risk
3
Light brown
Tans after initial burn
High risk
4
Moderate brown
Burns minimally, tans easily
At risk
5
Dark brown
Rarely burns, tans easily
Lower risk
6
Dark brown to black
Never burns, always tans easily
Lower risk

There are a number of criteria that place an individual at higher risk of developing melanoma. These include:​

Fair skin, light hair color, light eye color:

  • These provide less protection against damaging UV rays; however, having dark skin, hair and eyes does not eliminate your risk.

Exposure to UV radiation:

  • Whether it’s from natural or artificial sources like tanning beds, limiting your UV exposure will help decrease your risk of getting melanoma. Tanning beds are now banned in all states of Australia because of their proven direct link to increased melanoma risk. Short periods of intense exposure, such as sunbathing is associated with higher risk.

Family history of melanoma:

  • One or more immediate family members with melanoma increases your chance of a diagnosis

Sunburn:

  • Just one blistering sunburn at a young age doubles your risk whilst a sunburn, just once every 2 years, can triple your risk of melanoma. Sunburn doesn't have to be raw, peeling or blistering. If your skin has gone pink or red in the sun, it's sunburnt.

High number of moles/atypical moles:

  • Individuals with 50+ moles have an increased risk. If you have atypical moles and have family members with melanoma you are at especially high risk and should be followed regularly by a health care professional such as a dermatologist who has special expertise in following people with atypical moles.

Previous melanoma diagnosis

Weakened immune system

Previous non-melanoma skin cancer:

  • If you have been diagnosed with basal or squamous cell carcinoma in the past, you are at increased risk.

Melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer. It begins in skin cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that make melanin, which gives the skin its colour.

What to look for

It is very important to check your skin regularly in order to detect any changes in the SIZE, COLOUR or SHAPE of a mole or skin lesion.

An easy way to detect potentially harmful moles or lesions is by using the ABCDE guidlines.

Prevention

Your exposure to ultra violet (UV) light from the sun is one of the major risk factors for melanoma that you can control. UV levels are highest in summer, late spring and early autumn.

UV levels are not dependent on the temperature or cloud cover. A colder, cloudy day will still have high UV levels in summer. The following tips can help prevent melanoma…

Catching a melanoma in its early stages is one of the most important factors in improving the outcome of a melanoma diagnosis. It can literally SAVE A LIFE.

Why is catching it early so important?

Did you know...

1 in 0
RISK OF BEING
DIAGNOSED WITH
MELANOMA BY THEIR
85TH BIRTHDAY
(MEN)
1 in 0
RISK OF BEING
DIAGNOSED WITH
MELANOMA BY THEIR
85TH BIRTHDAY
(WOMEN)
0 hours
ONE PERSON
IN AUSTRALIA
DIES FROM
MELANOMA
EVERY FIVE HOURS
0 %
OF PEOPLE
RECOGNISE
THAT TANNING
ACCELERATES
SKIN AGEING
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