Risk Factors for Melanoma
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.It is possible to develop melanoma with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing melanoma. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.Risk factors for melanoma include:The occurrence of melanoma has been linked with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Therefore, exposing your skin to UV rays from the sun or tanning lamps increases your odds of developing melanoma. People who live in sunny climates are exposed to more sunlight. People who live at high altitudes, where the sunlight is strongest, are exposed to more UV radiation. Blistering sunburns, even as a child, also increase the risk of developing melanoma.Having melanoma once increases your risk of developing it again.Having many moles or large moles increases your risk of melanoma. Also, irregular moles are more likely to turn into melanoma than normal moles. Irregular moles are characterized by:
- Being larger than normal moles
- Being variable in color
- Having irregular borders
- Any pigmented spot in the nail beds
- Changing in size and/or shape
Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated April 3, 2013. Accessed April 8, 2013.
Melanoma risk factors. Melanoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.melanoma.org/learn-more/melanoma-101/melanoma-risk-factors . Accessed April 8, 2013.
Melanoma skin cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003120-pdf.pdf . Updated January 17, 2013. Accessed April 8, 2013.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013
- Update Date: 06/24/2013
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