Skin cancer is a very common and potentially fatal condition. The WHO estimates between two and three million people develop one of the various forms of skin cancer each year; this means the average individual has a one in five chance of getting skin cancer in their lifetime. While there are over ten types of skin cancer, the three most common are: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. All of these forms of skin cancer come with their own set of risks and should be treated as soon as possible.

Because all of these forms of skin cancer are dependent on a variety of external factors, such as UV radiation, the likelihood of developing them can be reduced dramatically. In order to prevent skin cancer, there are a few precautions that one should take.

Sun Block
Almost everyone has heard from their dermatologist how important wearing sun block is before going out, however, not many people have made it a daily habit. Because free radical damage caused by UV rays can mutate DNA, melanoma, a fast-spreading dangerous form of skin cancer, is much more likely to occur for those that don't wear sun block.

When looking for a good sun block to help reduce the likelihood of skin cancer, ensure that it shields the user from both UV-A and UV-B rays, as both can contribute to various forms of cancer and even have negative effects on aging appearance. Additionally, the SPF for daily sun block use should be, at the very minimum, 15 or higher in order to ensure as little damage as possible is done.

Avoid Tanning Booths
Out of all factors that contribute to skin cancer, tanning booths are devastating. Compared to natural sunlight, one gets much more damage for the amount of tanning accomplished while using a tanning booth. The reason for this is because of the skewed UV-A and UV-B blend put out by these beds. According to a study by JAMA Dermatology, indoor tanning beds contribute to more skin cancer cases than smoking contributes to lung cancer cases.

Clothing and Accessories
Anyone who is serious about reducing their risk of skin cancer should wear appropriate clothing. Some of these measures include a broad-brimmed hat, which gives a large shaded surface area, as well as dense clothing. Because one is unable to apply sun block to their eyes, a high quality pair of glasses that block UV light is essential.

Shade is Necessary
Because direct sunlight can increase the risk for skin cancer, keeping oneself shaded, especially during the summer, is necessary. There are a variety of different ways to shade oneself, from bringing an umbrella everywhere to installing a sun shade or retractable awning in one's home. Whatever the means, keeping shaded can drastically reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.

Quit Smoking
According to studies, smokers have a much higher chance of developing skin cancer in comparison to non-smokers. This is just one more reason to quit smoking for anyone serious about their health.

For those who are worried, taking these steps can drastically reduce the likelihood of developing skin cancer. Additionally, all of these steps have the additional benefit of keeping one younger looking well into old age, as UV radiation is one of the primary causes of wrinkles and skin damage in general.

Cammie Channing is a dental hygienist and health writer based out of Tucson, Arizona. She has written published articles about dentistry, skincare, nutrition, and more.