Health Topics

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer.  The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet radiation, also known as UV rays. UV rays are invisible.  The sun, tanning beds and some workplace equipment give off UV rays. 

Learn more about different types of skin cancer.  Most skin cancers are preventable.

Who is at risk for skin cancer

If you have any of the following characteristics, you are at greater risk for skin cancer:

  • Fair or freckly skin
  • Red or blond hair and light eyes
  • Sunburn easily
  • More than 50 moles
  • Had two or more blistering sunburns before age 18
  • Had skin cancer in the past
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Use medication that increases the sensitivity to UV; ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medication increases your sensitivity to UV

How to check for skin cancer

Check your skin every day. See your doctor right away if you notice:

  • Abnormally dark or discoloured patches or spots
  • Discoloured skin that appears suddenly or changes
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Bleeding, crusting or change in the colour, size or shape of a mole