Can Melanoma Be Prevented?

No cancer, including melanoma, is 100% preventable. Some risk factors for melanoma, such as skin type and family history, cannot be altered. You may develop melanoma despite your best efforts to prevent it. Because anyone can develop this disease, everyone should take steps to reduce their risk.

Melanoma is most treatable when detected early, so be proactive and perform regular skin self-exams to look for new or suspicious moles and other lesions, and seek out a board-certified dermatologist to evaluate anything changing, itching or bleeding on the skin. If you are predisposed to melanoma because you have one or more risk factors, such as multiple moles or a family history of this type of skin cancer, talk to your dermatologist about how often you should receive a skin exam.

Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light is the most preventable risk factor, so avoid tanning beds and other indoor tanning devices, and protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

By being diligent in the prevention and early detection of melanoma and other skin cancers early, you give yourself the best chance for good health.