The Risk Factors for Developing Skin Cancer Melanoma

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer that is diagnosed in the United States. One form of skin cancer that is rarer but more serious is melanoma. Although this is the least diagnosed type of skin cancer, it is responsible for the most deaths. However, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk of getting melanoma, or at least in catching the disease early, when it is still easy to treat effectively. By understanding the risk factors for this disease, you are taking the first step in ensuring that you do not receive a devastating diagnosis of skin cancer melanoma at some point in your life.

Sun Worshipping

While this may be a popular, warm weather pastime, especially among the younger members of the population, this is one of the first risk factors in developing melanoma. The harmful UV rays of the sun actually cause damage to our skin, which is what a much sought after tan is the result of. This is why it is imperative to wear sunscreen daily, a hat when you will be outside for long periods, and limit or eliminate your visits to tanning salons. The lights in the tanning booths that can give you that sun-kissed glow are just as damaging as lying out under the sun’s rays themselves.

Family History

If you have a family member that has been diagnosed with melanoma, your chances of receiving the same diagnosis goes up as well. This simply means that if you know of a person in your family who has had this disease, you should exercise additional caution when it comes to sun exposure and make sure you get into your doctor every year for a skin cancer screening. This will give you peace of mind in knowing that if you do ever develop melanoma, you will be able to catch it at its earliest – and most treatable – phase.

Skin Type

Are you the fairest of them all? Do you have a number of moles and freckles? If you answer yes to either or both of these questions, you have a higher risk of developing melanoma in your lifetime. Again, this means that you need to have those annual screenings and you should take whatever steps necessary to protect your vulnerable outer layer. It is possible that your doctor will want to remove any moles that look suspicious or could possibly become suspicious at some point. This will help to ensure that they do not develop into anything more, like a melanoma.

Skin cancer melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, but the good news is that there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk and improve your odds of early detection. Understanding the risk factors for melanoma is the first step in keeping this potentially deadly disease at bay.

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