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Reducing Your Risk of Melanoma

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
 
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A risk factor increases your chances of developing cancer. Modifying the following risk factors may help reduce your risk of melanoma.

Protecting your skin and checking it for changes are keys to preventing melanoma or catching it in an early, treatable stage.

Avoid Excessive Exposure to the Sun

Exposure to ultraviolet rays produced by the sun increases your risk of melanoma. Here’s how to protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays:

  • Cover your skin with clothing, including a shirt and a hat with a broad brim.
  • When outside, try to stay in shady areas.
  • Use sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more on skin that will be exposed to the sun.
  • Avoid exposing your skin to the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. standard time or 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daylight savings time.
  • Wear sunglasses with 99% or 100% UV absorption to protect your eyes.
  • Don't use sun lamps or tanning booths.

Check Your Skin for Abnormal-looking Moles

Check your skin regularly. If you notice an irregular-looking mole (large, irregular shape, color, texture etc.), show it to a doctor experienced in recognizing skin cancers. Your health care provider may monitor the mole or recommend removing it.

For more information on how to do a skin self-exam, click here .

Sources:

National Cancer Institute

American Cancer Society

Bast, R., et al. Cancer Medicine e5 ., Hamilton, Ontario: B.C. Decker Inc.; 2000

Rakel, R. Conn's Current Therapy 2002 , 54th ed., St. Louis, MO: W. B. Saunders Company; 2002: 808-809.



Last reviewed February 2003 by Donald Lawrence, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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