Who is a high-risk patient?

Find out who is at more risk of developing skin cancer.
Written by
Toby Nelson
Published on
October 20, 2023

Some people are more at risk of developing a skin cancer. These patients are sometimes called high-risk. Not a great name but it essentially helps to identify and counsel patients who might be at higher risk of skin cancer.

One risk factor is the environment in which you live. This is a very broad risk factor but helps explain why there is far more awareness and health campaigns in countries like Australia and New Zealand where skin cancers are 4x more common than in the UK. In these countries, the levels of UV radiation are far higher than in the UK placing the entire population at greater risk.

So who is a high-risk patient?

Individuals with fair skin, light-colored eyes, Fitzpatrick skin type 1 or 2.
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or use of tanning beds.

People with a family history of skin cancer, especially first-degree relatives, may also face an elevated risk due to genetic factors.

Individuals with numerous moles or atypical moles (dysplastic nevi) are considered high-risk.

Immunocompromised individuals, such as those undergoing organ transplantation or receiving certain medications, are at an increased risk due to a weakened ability to repair damaged skin cells.

Staying safe in the sun is a must for these individuals.

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