In most cases, non-melanoma skin cancer does not run in families. However, research has shown that some families have a higher than average number of members who develop the condition.
For example, if you have a parent who's had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), your risk of also getting SCC is 2 to 3 times higher than average.
Having a family history of melanoma also increases your risk of getting basal cell carcinoma.
Other risk factors
Certain factors are thought to increase your chances of developing all types of skin cancer.
- having pale skin that does not tan easily
- have blonde or red hair
- having blue eyes
- older age
- having a large number of moles
- having a large number of freckles
- having an area of skin previously damaged by burning or radiotherapy treatment
- having a condition that suppresses your immune system, such as HIV
- taking medicines that suppress your immune system (immunosuppressants), commonly used after organ transplants
- exposure to certain chemicals, such as creosote and arsenic
- having been previously diagnosed with skin cancer
The Cancer Research UK website has more information about skin cancer risks and causes.