Prevention of Melanoma


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Prevention list: Methods of prevention of Melanoma mentioned in various sources includes those listed below. This prevention information is gathered from various sources, and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Melanoma.

  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Avoid tanning salon exposure
  • Avoid sun-sensitizing creams and medications
  • Use sunscreen
  • Cover skin areas with clothing
  • Wear a hat
  • Wear a shirt
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Regularly self-examine skin
  • Regular skin exam by a doctor
  • Surgical mole removal

Prevention of Melanoma: Skin care doctors (dermatologists) recommend that everyone do a self-exam of the skin to look for changes, and a monthly mole self-exam. This includes looking at the skin on your whole body, even your scalp, the soles of your feet, between your toes, and on the palms of your hands. People between the ages of 20 and 39 should have a complete skin exam by a health care provider every three years. People over the age of 40 should have a complete skin exam by a health care provider every year. 1

How can I reduce the chances that I will get skin cancer? 1

To help reduce the risk of skin cancer caused by UV radiation, it is best to reduce exposure to the midday sun (from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Another simple rule is to avoid the sun when your shadow is shorter than you are.

Wearing a broad-brimmed hat, UV-absorbing sunglasses, long pants, and long sleeves offers protection. Many doctors believe that in addition to avoiding the sun and wearing protective clothing, wearing a sunscreen (especially one that reflects, absorbs, and/or scatters both types of ultraviolet radiation) may help prevent some forms of skin cancer. Sunscreens are rated in strength according to a sun protection factor (SPF). The higher the SPF, the more sunburn protection is provided. Sunscreens with an SPF of 12 through 29 are adequate for most people, but sunscreens are not a substitute for avoiding the sun and wearing protective clothing.2

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Skin Cancer: NWHIC
2. excerpt from What You Need To Know About Cancer - An Overview: NCI

Last revision: June 2, 2003

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