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Understanding your risk for Skin Cancer

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Understanding your risk for Skin Cancer

03 May 2016 by Ted Escobedo/Skin Cancer Foundation

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The Skin Cancer Foundation offers this quiz to analyze your risk for skin cancer based on your lifestyle. Take the quiz today, determine your risk factor and learn more about skin cancer prevention. Please remember that this quiz is offered for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about all of your lifestyle choices and their associated cancer risks.

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Take the Quiz

You can get an idea of your risk, based on the questions below, provided by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The questions and scores are based on the Fitzpatrick skin type classification, used by dermatologists to test how skin responds to ultraviolet rays from the sun, which causes us to tan or burn. Add up the numbers based on your answers.

Regardless of your score, protect yourself in the sun with sunscreen of SPF 30 or more. Pay attention to suspicious growths or changes in moles and be sure you have an annual professional skin checkup.

One in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetimes, according to current estimates.

This is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis.

Your eye color is:

Light blue, light gray or light green = 0

Blue, gray or green = 1

Hazel or light brown = 2

Dark brown = 3

Brownish black = 4

Your natural hair color is:

Red or light blonde = 0

Blonde = 1

Dark blonde or light brown = 2

Dark brown = 3

Black = 4

Your natural skin color (before sun exposure) is:

Ivory white = 0

Fair or pale = 1

Fair to beige, with golden undertone = 2

Olive or light brown = 3

Dark brown or black = 4

How many freckles do you have on unexposed areas of your skin?

Many = 0

Several = 1

A few = 2

Very few = 3

None = 4

How does your skin respond to the sun?

Always burns, blisters and peels = 0

Often burns, blisters and peels = 1

Burns moderately = 2

Burns rarely, if at all = 3

Never burns = 4

Does your skin tan?

Never — I always burn = 0

Seldom = 1

Sometimes = 2

Often = 3

Always = 4

How deeply do you tan?

Not at all or very little = 0

Lightly = 1

Moderately = 2

Deeply = 3

My skin is naturally dark = 4

How sensitive is your face to the sun?

Very sensitive = 0

Sensitive = 1

Normal = 2

Resistant = 3

Very resistant/Never had a problem = 4

Total score for reaction to sun exposure: _______


Your Total Risk Factor

Add up the total to find your Fitzpatrick Skin Type:

0-6 points

You always burn and never tan in the sun. You are extremely susceptible to skin damage as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

You may also a greater risk for melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.

7-12 points

You almost always burn and rarely tan in the sun.

You may have a greater risk of skin damage, as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, as well as melanoma.

13-18 points

You sometimes burn and sometimes tan in the sun. You are susceptible to skin damage, as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Seek the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun is strongest.

19-24 points

You tend to tan easily and are less likely to burn. But you are still at risk; use sunscreen with an SPF of 15+ outside and seek the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

25-30 points

You tan easily and rarely burn, but you are still at risk.

Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15+ and seek the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Acral lentiginous melanoma, a very virulent form of the disease, is more common among darker-skinned people.

These melanomas tend to appear on parts of the body not often exposed to the sun, and often remain undetected until after the cancer has spread. Keep an eye out for any suspicious growths, especially on the palms, soles of the feet and mucous membranes. Have your skin checked by a doctor each year.

31 + points

You sometimes burn and sometimes tan in the sun. You are susceptible to skin damage as well as cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Acral lentiginous melanoma, a very virulent form of the disease, is more common among darker-skinned people.

These melanomas tend to appear on parts of the body not often exposed to the sun, and often remain undetected until after the cancer has spread.

Keep an eye out for any suspicious growths, especially on the palms, soles of the feet and mucous membranes.

Tools To Use

Click to view or download the following tools / information in PDF format.

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