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What's Your Skin Cancer Risk? Quiz

This quiz can help you assess your personal risk for skin cancer. Please mark the best response to all the questions. When you have finished, you can read your report in the space below the quiz.

1. Age:
2. Skin Type
Very fair skin, blond/red hair, light eye color, doesn't tan, sunburns very easily
Fair skin, tans minimally, sunburns easily
Light skin, tans gradually, sunburns with extended exposure
Olive/darker skin, tans easily, seldom burns
Very dark skin, seldom or never burns
Health History
3. Do you have a family history of skin cancer (father, mother, sister, brother)?
4. Have you ever had skin cancer?
5. Do you have reduced immunity due to a health problem or immunosuppressive medication?
6. Do you have:
  • A large number of moles (more than 20)
  • Several large moles (5 mm (0.2 ") or larger)
  • One or more large moles present at birth
7. Do any of your moles fit the descriptions listed below?
  • Not symmetrical
  • Has irregular (fuzzy) borders
  • Variable in color
  • Larger than 5mm (0.2 ")(Roughly the size of a pencil eraser)
  • Has rapidly changed recently
Sun Exposure
8. Have you lived in a geographical area where the sun is very intense (e.g., tropical or subtropical regions)?

If yes, for how many years?

9. Are you exposed to the sun for extended periods as part of your work or recreation?
10. Do you have a history of blistering sunburns (particularly during childhood)?
11. Do you take care to wear protective clothing (shirt, hat, etc.) when in the sun?
12. Have you often used the sun or a tanning bed to get a suntan?
13. Do you usually use a sunscreen (SPF 15+) when out in the sun?

Check your answers and click the button below when you are finished. Your results will appear below.

Your Skin Cancer Risk Report
Understanding Your Report
  • The number of risk factors and the importance of your specific risks determine your likelihood of developing skin cancer.
  • Contributing factors can influence the degree of risk you face.
  • The number of risk factors you have, your risk category, and your specific risk areas are noted below.
  • Any risk factors and contributing factors you have are marked with a .

Skin Cancer Risk Factors =

Cancer Risk Category =

Biological Factors
Increasing age
As with many cancers, the general incidence of skin cancer increases with age, especially when other risk factors are present. Age is a contributing factor in your skin cancer risk. Ask your doctor to check your skin for potential problems. Do regular, monthly skin checks yourself.
Skin type
People with a fair complexion (especially blondes or red heads with blue eyes) who tan poorly or burn easily are at increased risk of skin cancer, compared to people with darker skin.
Personal history
If you have a personal history of skin cancer, you are at a higher risk of developing another skin cancer as compared to someone's risk of getting cancer for the first time. This means you need to be extra cautious about avoiding sun exposure.
Family history
If your father, mother, brother, or sister developed skin cancer, you are more likely to develop skin cancer than is someone without a family history of the disease. You can decrease your risk by practicing sun safety strategies (limiting exposure, using sunscreen, covering your skin) and keeping other risk factors low.
Decreased immunity
If your immune system is depressed from a health problem or immunosuppressive medicine, your risk of skin cancer is increased. You can minimize your overall skin cancer risk by adapting a sun-safe lifestyle. You can also impact your immune system by living an overall healthy lifestyle.
Many moles, larger moles, or large mole present at birth
If you have a lot of moles (20 or more), several larger moles (5 mm or more), or a larger mole present at birth, you are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer sometime in your life, compared to someone with few or no moles.
Suspicious moles
If you notice a rapid change or growth in a mole or a mole that has an unusual look (such as irregularities in shape or color) or a mole larger than 5 mm (the size of a pencil eraser), consult your doctor immediately to rule out the possibility of skin cancer. Learn more about skin cancer detection and prevention by visiting the education section in this site.
Sun Exposure
High exposure to sun
A high accumulation of sun exposure appears to be the major cause of skin cancer. Living in geographic areas where intense sun exposure is common (tropical or subtropical regions) can put you at higher risk. Other factors include how often you are in the sun due to your work or recreational practices and whether you take precautions to shield yourself when in the sun.
Severe sunburns in childhood
A history of blistering or severe sunburns in childhood is considered to be a strong predictor for future skin cancer risk. As with all risk factors, you may reduce your total risk by continuing to take precautions to reduce your exposure to the sun's rays.
Protective clothing
The lack of sun protection is a contributing factor to skin cancer risk. You can greatly reduce your risk of excess sun exposure by wearing hats, loose-fitting clothes, and sunglasses when you are in intense sunlight.
Although many people mistakenly consider a tan an indication of good health, tanning puts you at risk for skin cancer and remains one of the best ways to prematurely age your skin. Avoid lying in the sun (or in tanning beds) for the purpose of tanning.
The lack of sun protection is a contributing factor to skin cancer risk. Wearing sunscreen lotion, spray, or cream (that blocks both UV-A and UV-B rays, SPF 15+) is critical in intense sunlight to protect the skin from sunburn and aging. Wearing sunscreen is particularly important between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's radiation is highest.


1. 7 steps to safer sunning. FDA Consumer; 30(5).

2. Skin cancer facts. American Cancer Society.

3. Koh HK and Geller AC. Melanoma and skin cancer control: An international perspective. Cancer Control Journal; 2(5).

4. Grossman D, and Leffell DJ. The molecular basis of nonmelanoma Skin Cancer. Archives of Dermatology; 133:1263-70.


Written by:: Don Hall, DrPH, CHES
Reviewed:: 7/25/2013

This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis of specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt professional medical attention if you have a particular concern about your health or specific symptoms. Wellsource, Inc. is not liable for any health consequences resulting from your use of this site.