From Zaw M. Bo, MD, Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at OHC Springfield

May 22, 2019

Although it’s easier than ever to protect yourself from sun and ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, you can still develop skin cancer. In recognition of Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, OHC encourages you to take this quiz from the Skin Cancer Foundation to determine your Fitzpatrick Skin Type – a skin classification system first developed in 1975 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, MD, as a way to estimate the response of different types of skin to ultraviolet (UV) light.

Once you have your results, you can call OHC at 1-800-710-4674 to schedule an appointment to discuss your results with one of our cancer experts or you can review them with your primary care doctor or a dermatologist. He or she can refer you to OHC if they believe you need further care. For more information about skin cancer prevention, protection, and treatment, visit our web site,, and search “skin cancer.”


1. Your eye color is:

Light blue, light gray or light green = 0
Blue, gray or green = 1
Hazel or light brown = 2
Dark brown = 3
Brownish black = 4

2. Your natural hair color is:

Red or light blonde = 0
Blonde = 1
Dark blonde or light brown = 2
Dark brown = 3
Black = 4

3. Your natural skin color (before sun exposure) is:

Ivory white = 0
Fair or pale = 1
Fair to beige, with golden undertone = 2
Olive or light brown = 3
Dark brown or black = 4

4. How many freckles do you have on unexposed areas of your skin?

Many = 0
Several = 1
A few = 2
Very few = 3
None = 4

Total score for genetic disposition: _______


1. How does your skin respond to the sun?

Always burns, blisters and peels = 0
Often burns, blisters and peels = 1
Burns moderately = 2
Burns rarely, if at all = 3
Never burns = 4

2. How sensitive is your face to the sun?

Very sensitive = 0
Sensitive = 1
Normal = 2
Resistant = 3
Very resistant/Never had a problem = 4

3. Does your skin tan?

Never, I always burn = 0
Seldom = 1
Sometimes = 2
Often = 3
Always = 4

4. How deeply do you tan?

Not at all or very little = 0
Lightly = 1
Moderately = 2
Deeply = 3
My skin is naturally dark = 4

Total score for reaction to sun exposure: _______

Add your two totals to find your Fitzpatrick Skin Type: _________

TYPE I (0 – 6 points): You always burn and never tan in the sun and are extremely susceptible to skin damage.
TYPE II (7 – 12 points): You almost always burn and rarely tan in the sun and are highly susceptible to skin damage.
TYPE III (13 – 18 points): You sometimes burn and sometimes tan in the sun. You are susceptible to skin damage.

For these three types, you are susceptible to cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and are at high risk for melanoma. Use a sunscreen with a SPF of 30+ and clothing with a UPF rating of 30 or higher. Seek the shade whenever you are out in the sun. Check your skin head-to-toe each month, paying careful attention to any suspicious growths, and make sure you have an annual professional skin checkup.

TYPE IV (19 – 24 points): You tend to tan easily and are less likely to burn, but you are still at risk.
TYPE V (25 – 30 points): You tan easily and rarely burn, but you are still at risk.
TYPE VI (31+ points): Although you do not burn, dark-skinned people are still at risk for skin cancers.

For these three types, use sunscreen with an SPF of 15+ outside and seek the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Acral lentiginous melanoma, a very virulent form of the disease, is more common among darker-skinned people. These melanomas tend to appear on parts of the body not often exposed to the sun, and often remain undetected until after the cancer has spread. Check your skin head-to-toe each month, paying careful attention to any suspicious growths, and make sure you have an annual professional skin checkup. Keep an eye out for any suspicious growths, especially on the palms, soles of the feet and mucous membranes.

Comments (2)

2 responses to “Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer? Take this Quick Quiz!”

  1. Kari McGeorge says:

    Thanks that helped. I believe my mom had melanoma before. So thanks for the help

    • OHC says:

      Hi Kari,

      Thank you for your message. We’re so happy to hear that the quiz from Dr. Bo helped you. We believe prevention is the best medicine and hope you can protect yourself from melanoma and other skin cancers.

      Best regards,

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