Melanoma risk management
A person in the general population has about a 2.5 percent lifetime risk of developing melanoma. This means that 1 out of every 40 people will get melanoma in their lifetime. There are factors that can affect risk.
Genes linked to melanoma risk
Inherited mutations in the following genes have been linked to an increased risk for melanoma:
Even in the absence of an inherited mutation, people with a family history of melanoma have an increased risk.
Other factors linked to melanoma risk
Other factors that increase a person’s risk for melanoma include:
- Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation increases the risk for skin cancer, including melanoma. People who live in sunny climates or at high altitudes have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. People who spend a lot of time outside during the midday hours also have a higher risk.
- Using tanning beds can increase the risk for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma.
- People with many moles or certain types of irregular moles, called dysplastic nevi have a higher risk for melanoma.
- Having fair skin, blond or red hair, blue eyes, and freckles increase the risk for melanoma. White people have a higher risk for melanoma than black people. People who have a tendency to burn rather than tan are also at high risk. ahad
- People who had a previous diagnosis of skin cancer are at increased risk for developing melanomas.
People who have a weakened immune systems have a higher risk for skin cancer, including melanoma.
- The American Academy of Dermatologists has a tool to find dermatologists by expertise, location or procedure.
- Aim At Melanoma Foundation has a lookup tool for finding melanoma experts by location.
- If you learn that you are at high risk for melanoma, you may also need to see an ophthalmologist who can screen for melanoma in your eyes. The website for the American Academy of Ophthalmologists has a search feature to help you find an expert in your area.
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer centers deliver cutting-edge cancer care to patients in communities across the United States. Most centers have specialized screening and prevention centers for high risk people. Find a center near you and learn about its specific research capabilities, programs, and initiatives.
- Register for the FORCE Message Boards to get referrals from other members. Once you register, you can post on the Find a Specialist board to connect with other people who share your situation.