About 74,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year in the U.S. Melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer, but it’s the deadliest.
What puts you at higher risk of melanoma skin cancer?
- Having pale skin
- Having a lot of moles (especially more than 50)
- Getting bad sunburns (even in childhood)
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning aids
- Living close to the equator or at a high elevation
- Having a close relative with melanoma
- Having HIV or a weakened immune system
- Having melanoma in the past
How can you lower your risk for developing melanoma skin cancer?
- Avoid extended sun exposure, especially mid-day
- Use sunscreen
- Wear clothes that cover your skin, plus hats and sunglasses
- Don’t use tanning beds or sunlamps
- Have concerning moles removed before they can develop into skin cancer
How can you help ensure early detection for more effective treatment?
- Watch moles and skin closely for any changes in their appearance and report them to your dermatologist right away
- Have moles with any ABCDE characteristics examined by a dermatologist; that stands for abnormal borders (uneven, blurry, etc.), colorful (not the same color in all places), diameter greater than ¼ inch, and evolving (changing in appearance or texture, starting to bleed or get crusty, etc.)
- Have your dermatologist monitor concerning moles with follow-up appointments
Check out these useful resources about melanoma skin cancer prevention: