Skin Cancer, Melanoma Awareness

Chronic vs. intermediate sun exposure

How melanoma relates to different types of skin damage

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 07/04/17
Sun Damage Can Cause Melanoma

Above: Sun damage can cause melanoma.

How do melanoma types relate to sun damage?

Chronic sun exposure

In New Zealand, melanoma often affects people who are sun damaged. This type of melanoma:

  • Tends to affect older individuals.
  • Is more common in men.
  • Often occurs on the head and neck.
  • May result in several melanomas.
  • Usually occurs in people who have been exposed to the sun over a long period of time. These are often people that work outdoors, such as builders, farmers and gardeners.
  • Is often a clinical type called lentigo maligna melanoma.
  • Tends to be slow-growing and thin at diagnosis.

Intermediate sun exposure

Melanoma can also affect people who actually don’t spend a lot of time outdoors. This type of melanoma is associated with earlier sunburn, and:

  • Tends to affect younger adults.
  • Is more common in women.
  • Often affects fair-skinned people who have lots of moles.
  • Most often occurs on the trunk of males and on the legs of females.
  • Usually occurs in people who have been exposed to lots of sun occasionally, for example during sunny holidays spent sun-bathing or sailing.
  • Is often a clinical type called superficial spreading melanoma.
  • Can affect several members of one family, who have a genetic tendency to large and odd-looking (atypical) moles as well as melanoma.


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