One out of every five Americans will develop skin cancer during his or her lifetime, and many health experts believe that percentage will increase in coming decades. With global warming on the rise, people are increasingly being exposed to stronger ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which forms free radicals, damages healthy cells, and increases the risk for skin cancer.

Nothing Under 30

None of this is good news for sun worshipers, since exposure to UV rays is responsible for about 90 percent of skin cancer cases. For this reason, it's crucial to protect your skin, experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C., warn. The best way to do that? Limit your time out in the sun especially during midday, when UV rays are at their strongest.

If you must be in the sun, experts advise slathering on a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 every time you go outdoors, even during winter months. Sunscreen should be applied generously and reapplied every three to four hours, even more frequently if you're swimming or sweating.

What about your diet?

A growing body of research suggests that diet may also play a role in skin cancer, and people should start reducing their risk by cutting back their alcohol intake. One study claims that heavy drinkers have a 65 percent greater risk of developing melanoma, versus light or non drinkers, institute experts warn.

What's more, polyunsaturated fats, consumed in excess, may weaken your immune system and expose your body to the dangerous free radicals associated with cancer. These types of fats, which are heavily present in most vegetable oils, are considered "healthy fats," as opposed to saturated and trans fats, but you still must consume them in moderation, cancer experts say.

In addition, the antioxidants in some foods may help prevent cancer. Recent studies show that carotenoids, vitamins C and E, and selenium may contain cancer-fighting properties. These antioxidants are found in a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.