What Are The Risk Factors For Melanoma Skin Cancer?

Moles are generally benign skin lesions. However, there are certain moles which can become malignant. Both dysplastic and hair moles have the potential to become a cancer. Any individual with very large moles and/or a great number of moles is always at a higher risk for skin cancer than the general population.

Past History of Melanoma: Individuals who have had a previous melanoma are at a high risk for developing another melanoma. All skin cancers have a tendency to recur and the majority arise within 2-3 years after removal of the original lesion

Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP); this very rare skin disorder is inherited. In XP the individual does not have the ability to repair the damaged caused by sunlight. Even the slightest damage to the skin by sun has a higher chance to become a malignancy over time.

Age: Most skin cancers are more common in the elderly and the same applies to melanoma. But this does not mean that younger individuals can't get melanoma. Melanoma is fast becoming a skin cancer of the middle aged individual.

Gender: Men have a higher rate of this cancer than women. This is because many men work outdoors and are exposed to the sun for a greater duration in their life time.

Sun: The biggest risk to melanomas is the UV rays from the sun. Too much UV light is not good for the skin. By avoiding the sun, one can significantly cut down the risk of melanomas and other skin cancers.

Tanning booths: Tanning booths are now felt to be a very high risk for causing skin cancers. Despite this, many individuals still routinely artificially tan them selves putting their body at great risk for developing skin cancers.

Immunosuppressed: individuals who are immunosuppressed either with chemotherapy drugs, AIDs or cancers are at great risk for developing skin cancers.

Family: If an individual has a family member with a melanoma, he/she is also at risk for developing a skin cancer. The actual risk is unknown as the pattern of inheritance is not fully understood.

Fair skin: Individuals with fair skin and light hair are also prone to developing melanomas.

Bad luck: In many cases, there are no risk factors and an individual still develops a melanoma. This is just plain bad luck

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