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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

Recommended Related to Melanoma/Skin Cancer

Overview

Note: Separate PDQ summaries on Skin Cancer Prevention, Skin Cancer Treatment, and Levels of Evidence for Cancer Screening and Prevention Studies are also available. Interventions The only widely proposed screening procedure for skin cancer is visual examination of the skin, including both self-examination and clinical examination. Benefits In asymptomatic populations, the effect of visual skin examination on mortality from nonmelanomatous skin cancers is unknown. Further, the evidence...

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  • 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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