6 ways to reduce your melanoma risk

by | May 10, 2023 | Uncategorized

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers around the world. No one is immune to skin cancer, although those with lighter skin colors are at higher risk.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. Melanoma develops in the cells that produce melanin. While the exact causes of melanoma aren’t entirely clear, exposure to ultraviolet radiation greatly increases the risk of the disease.

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body, but it is most commonly found on areas that have had significant exposure to the sun, such as the back, legs, arms, and face. It also can form in the eyes. The American Skin Cancer Society says that there is no definitive way to prevent melanoma, but the following are six ways individuals can lower their risk.

  1. Limit UV exposure. The most important step to take is to protect yourself from UV rays, which include both natural sunlight and light from tanning beds. Staying in the shade or indoors during peak hours of sunlight can limit UV exposure.
  2. Use sunscreen every day. Choose a formula that will screen out both UVA and UVB rays. Apply about two tablespoons of the product at each application. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even more regularly if you will be swimming or sweating a lot.
  3. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds. Tanning beds and sunlamps are not safer forms of UV exposure. They provide more exposure to UV radiation over a shorter period of time, potentially making them quite dangerous.
  4. Schedule routine skin exams. Visit a dermatologist to get a full-body skin exam. A qualified doctor can identify moles or other skin abnormalities that may prove problematic. Always let a doctor know if moles change size or shape. Normal moles are generally a uniform color and shape. Unusual moles are asymmetrical in shape with color changes and irregular borders.
  5. Wear large or wrap-around sunglasses. These types of sunglasses will protect the eyes and the sensitive skin around the eyes.
  6. Learn your family history. Healthgrades says some types of melanoma cancer genes are passed from one generation to another. Find out if you can get gene testing if you have several family members with melanoma or a family member who had melanoma more than once.

Melanoma is a potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer, though there are various ways to reduce your risk for the disease.