Most people know the main risk factors for melanoma. These include frequent exposure to the sun, having a family history of this type of skin cancer and having fair complexion. However, there are also other risk factors that are often overlooked. Find out what these are and what you can do if you are at greater risk of developing this condition.
Melanoma: More Moles and Odd Moles
Researchers have found that individuals with more than 50 moles are more likely to develop melanoma. The risk is greater when you have a number of odd moles as well. These are typically larger than the normal formations on the skin. Most often they are 5 mm in diameter or bigger. They have uneven edges. They have a mixture of colours usually black, dark brown and light brown, pink and flesh colour.
If you have a large number of moles on your skin and/or a number of unusual ones, you should have more regular screenings for melanoma. It is equally important to monitor your moles and to report any changes to your doctor timely. Make sure that you take all of the measures for preventing skin cancer from applying sunscreen to wearing wide-brim hats on sunny days.
There are some places on Earth with more intense ultraviolet radiation. The main ones are the equatorial regions and the high-altitude regions. People who live in the mountain areas of New Zealand are at greater risk of melanoma. It is essential for them to limit their sun exposure especially between 11 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon. Sunscreen application is a must and so are more regular screenings.
Melanoma: Low Immunity
It has been discovered that individuals with weakened immune system are at greater risk of melanoma. More research is necessary to determine why this is the case. People who have this problem such as the ones diagnosed with HIV and the ones taking immunosuppressant medications should take stricter and additional measures for prevention.
The risk of melanoma increases with age even though the most recent statistical data shows that young people are six times more likely to develop this type of skin cancer now than forty years ago. Two of the main types of melanoma most commonly appear in the elderly. These are lentigo maligna and nodular tumours of the skin. The latter tumours are particularly dangerous as they are invasive at the early stage of their development.
By taking all known preventive measures, you will be less likely to develop melanoma even if you are at greater risk.