Clue #1: You wear flip-flops often. If you wear flip-flops most of the spring and summer, your feet are prone to more sun exposure and sun damage than those who wear socks and shoes.
Clue #2: You wear baseball hats. While baseball hats protect your head from sun damage, your ears are constantly exposed and are often overlooked when your skin is checked for signs of skin cancer.
Clue #3: You are a male. Whether it’s habits, hormones or genes, or even a combination of these three, men have three times as many squamous cancer cells and twice as many basal cancer cells as women. Also, white men over the age of 50 have the highest incidence of melanoma.
Clue #4: You have dark skin. While skin with more pigment has a natural shield against UV rays, many African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian Indians get a false sense of security and typically do not pay much attention to protecting their skin from these harmful rays. Skin cancer is also detected much later in dark skinned people, therefore making it harder to treat.
Clue #5: You live in the South or in the Mountains. Rates of skin cancer are obviously higher in places that receive more sunlight, like in the South or in the Mountains. Altitude is also a factor as UV radiation increases about 4 to 5 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level.
Clue #6: You are a runner, cyclist or swimmer. The more miles men and women run the greater their chance of acquiring skin cancer. The same goes for swimmers and cyclists who spend countless hours out in the climate.
Clue #7: You have a lot of moles. The average Caucasian has 30 moles – relatively round spots that are brown, red or pink. But the moles that are asymmetrical, with raggedy borders, discoloration or changing size, are the ones that are more likely to develop into melanoma. People over the age of 20 with more than 100 moles or people under the age of 20 with more than 50 moles are also at risk.
Clue #8: You have light-colored eyes. Blue, grey or green eyes are considered risk factors for skin cancer because they are typically associated with fair skin, freckles, and blonde or red hair.
Clue #9: You had a lot of sunburns as a child or teenager. A history of sunburn is a major risk factor and a leading cause of skin cancer. Your risk doubles if you have had more than five sunburns in your life. Just one blistering sunburn can double your risk later in life.
Clue #10: You smoke. Smoking lowers your immunity and allows free radicals to enter your body. The longer you smoke the more likely you are to acquire skin cancer. After 20 years of smoking, your risk doubles compared to non-smokers.