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Melanoma Prevention

Avoiding risk factors for melanoma and increasing the protective factors wherever possible help prevent melanoma. Other measures include wearing sunscreen, avoiding tanning beds and sunlamps, and avoiding exposure to midday sun. While prevention does not guarantee you won't get melanoma, the chances of developing the disease do decrease.

Is It Possible to Prevent Melanoma?

Doctors cannot always explain why one person will get melanoma and another person will not. However, scientists have studied general patterns of melanoma in the population to learn what may increase a person's chances of developing it.
 
Anything that increases a person's chance of developing melanoma is called a risk factor; anything that decreases a person's chance of developing it is called a protective factor. Melanoma prevention means avoiding the risk factors and increasing the protective factors that can be controlled so that the chances of developing the disease decreases.
 

Melanoma Prevention: Know the Risk Factors

Risk factors for melanoma include:
 
  • Unusual moles (dysplastic nevi)
  • Several moles (more than 50)
  • Exposure to natural sunlight
  • Exposure to artificial ultraviolet light (tanning booth)
  • Family or personal history of melanoma
  • Severe sunburns
  • Being Caucasian and older than 20 years of age
  • Red or blond hair
  • Weakened immune system
  • White or light-colored skin and freckles
  • Blue eyes
  • Personal history of skin cancer
  • Family history of dysplastic nevi or melanoma.
 
(Click Causes of Melanoma to read more about the risk factors.)
 
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