Research funded by the Melanoma Research Alliance and others continues to advance our understanding of the causes of melanoma, and how genetics may play a role. What we do know is that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the major environmental contributor to melanoma.
Tips to Reduce Your Risk for Melanoma:
- Wear Sunscreen. Make sunscreen a daily habit. UV radiation can still damage skin even in the winter and on cloudy days. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen (protects against UVA and UVB rays) with SPF of at least 30.
- Wear Protective Clothing. Protect your body with sun-protective clothing, hat, and sunglasses.
- Avoid Peak Rays. Seek shade during the mid-day sun, when the sun’s rays are most intense.
- Don’t Use Tanning Beds. Indoor tanning has been shown to increase the risk of melanoma by up to 75%. Melanoma is one of the top three cancers diagnosed in young adults (ages 25-29), and scientists attribute this trend to the use of tanning beds among this age group, particularly young women.
- Protect Children. Just one bad sunburn in childhood or adolescence doubles your child’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Melanoma Risk Factors:
People with the following traits are at higher risk for developing melanoma and other skin cancers:
- Fair skin
- Red or blonde hair
- Light eyes
- More than 50 moles
- History of sunburn or UV exposure
- Family history of skin cancer
- Personal history of skin cancer
Watch Dr. Craig Slingluff discuss melanoma prevention.
If you have any of these traits, be sure you know your skin – early detection is key!
Find answers about prevention on our Prevention Q & A.