Every year approximately 2200 people in New Zealand are diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Cancerous moles, however, are not quick to develop, and do not appear all of a sudden. That is why prevention and regular screening, acts as the best cure. Being educated on skin cancer is important as you will be able to evaluate your risk and take adequate preventive measures.
SKIN CANCER MOLES: RISK FACTORS YOU CAN CONTROL
Frequent exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the major risk factor for skin cancer. Keep in mind that the sun is the main source of this radiation, but it is not the only one. Tanning lamps and tanning beds fall into this category too. The best way for you to protect yourself is to avoid exposure to UV radiation. Sunburns also increase your risk of getting melanoma. It has been estimated that individuals who have had more than three blistering sunburns before the age of 20 are more likely to develop skin cancer. Children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of the so they require the highest possible level of protection.
SKIN CANCER MOLES: RISK FACTORS OUT OF YOUR CONTROL
The more moles you have on your body the more likely you are to develop skin cancer. It has been estimated that individuals who have ten or more regular moles have a 12-fold increased risk. The removal of moles will not make you less likely to develop the condition. Family history of melanoma increases your risk of developing cancerous moles. It is important to note, however, that the increase in risk is not as high as many people think. It has been estimated that around 10 per cent of all skin cancer patients have a relative who has suffered from the condition. Hence, if your grandfather or cousin has had the condition, you may not necessarily develop it. Still, it is essential not to ignore this and any other factor which puts you at risk in one way or another. Genetic disorders affecting the enzyme which repairs the skin cells’ DNA from the damage which has been done by UV radiation also make you more likely of developing skin cancer. These genetic disorders are extremely rare. Some of them may remain undiagnosed for quite some time and this can make the situation for sufferers worse. There are a lot of things which you can do to prevent the formation of cancerous moles even if you are at greater risk of melanoma due to factors which you cannot control.