As the fastest-spreading and deadliest of all skin cancers, melanoma must be taken extremely seriously. It kills thousands of people around the world every year. At the same time, when it is detected at its early stages of development, it can be treated effectively and the patients have very high chances of survival. For these reasons, you need to assess your risk and take adequate measures to protect yourself. Here are the factors which you must take into account for proper risk assessment.
People who have fair complexion are 10 times more likely to develop melanoma compared to people with dark-coloured skin. That is why it is crucial for them to apply sunscreen when they get exposed to the sun. Wearing a hat and a pair of sunglasses is equally important.
Those who have over 50 small moles on their body and/or 7 or 8 large ones are at greater risk of developing this type of skin cancer. Generally, existing moles are less likely to turn into malignant growths, but this is not impossible. For this reason, regular examinations are essential.
You have a higher risk of developing this condition if one or more of your first-degree relatives has been diagnosed with it. It is thought that in some cases specific genetic mutations make people predisposed to this type of skin cancer. Still, since this has not been proven yet and since it is possible for the lifestyle of the family to bring higher risk, genetic testing is not recommended. Mole checks and protection from UV radiation should be used as the main methods for prevention.
This is the major risk factor for melanoma since the UV rays have a damaging effect on the skin cells. You are more likely to develop this condition if you work or exercise outdoors on a regular basis. The more time you spend under the sun, the higher your risk is. People who use sunbeds are also more likely to get this type of skin cancer. The same applies to those who have a history of severe sunburns especially during childhood and adolescence.
Gender and Age
More men suffer from this type of cancer compared to women. However, the statistics also show that women are at higher risk before the age of 40 while the risk for men becomes higher after 40. Even though you are more likely to get this condition as you grow older, its incidence in young people is quite high. In fact, in most countries it holds the first or second place in the chart for most common cancers in people under the age of 39.
You need to take all possible measures to lower your melanoma risk.