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What Increases Your Risk

A risk factor for melanoma is something that increases your chance of getting this cancer. Having one or more of these risk factors can make it more likely that you will get melanoma. But it doesn't mean that you will definitely get it. And many people who get melanoma don't have any of these risk factors.

Risk factors for melanoma include:1

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Understanding Skin Cancer -- Symptoms

If you are in a high-risk group for skin cancer or have ever been treated for some form of the disease, you should familiarize yourself with how skin cancers look. Examine your skin from head to toe every few months, using a full-length mirror and hand mirror to check your mouth, nose, scalp, palms, soles, backs of ears, genital area, and between the buttocks. Cover every inch of skin and pay special attention to moles and sites of previous skin cancer. If you find a suspicious growth, have it examined...

Read the Understanding Skin Cancer -- Symptoms article > >

  • Too much exposure to the sun's UV rays. This includes:
    • Having had blistering sunburns at any time of life.
    • Getting intense sun exposure every now and then.
  • Fair skin that doesn't tan and tends to sunburn or freckle, along with blue or green eyes or red or blond hair.
  • Numerous moles and/or more than one atypical mole.
  • A large mole you have had since birth.
  • A personal or family history of melanoma.
  • Changes in your genes, like the change that causes a skin disease called Xeroderma pigmentosum.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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