Melanoma Risk Factors and Early Detection

Risk Factors

Certain individuals are at higher risk for melanoma. Risk factors for melanoma include:

  • Fitzpatrick skin type I, II
  • Indoor tanning (4x the risk)
  • Blistering sunburns (2x the risk)
  • Family history of melanoma
  • Personal history of non-melanotic skin cancers

However, not all melanomas are at high risk. Here are some additional, more specific, risk factors for melanoma:

  • Prior invasive melanoma
  • Nodular melanoma
  • Dysplastic Nevus Syndrome
  • Over 50 moles
  • Familial melanoma
  • CDKN2A or CDK4 mutations
  • Melanocortin 1 Receptor Genotype
  • Immunosuppression
  • Childhood cancer survivors (previous treatment with XRT)
  • Parkinson's Disease

Early Detection

For individuals concerned about skin cancer, Hoag advises you following your sun safety trips throughout the year in sunny Southern California, including: avoiding the sun during the middle of the day, wear sunscreen year-round, wear protective clothing, avoid tanning beds and check your skin regularly and report changes to your dermatologist.

The simplest step is to visit your dermatologist for a skin check-up. During this screening, a dermatologist can determine if there are any areas of concern and inquire with you if you’ve noticed changes in your skin or moles, and if it may be causing an kind of symptoms such as pain, itching or bleeding. During this physical exam, your dermatologist will also note the size, shape, texture and color of the area in question, and feel your lymph nodes under the neck, underarm or groin area. When melanoma spreads, it often travels to nearby lymph nodes first.

Hoag encourages you to stay aware of your skin, and any changes that may occur. Hoag recommends you receive a skin examination by a dermatologist once a year, or every six months if an individual has a family history.

To contact Hoag’s Melanoma/Advanced Skin Cancer Program, please call 877-494-3484.‚Äč