Risk Factors and Prevention
Risk factors and prevention
Melanoma care with Northwestern Medicine Dermatology
About 1 in 40 Caucasians will experience melanoma, and 10% of them will have melanoma more than once.1 Protecting your skin from UV rays can significantly reduce your risk of skin cancer and melanoma.
In addition, one-to-two people per million are diagnosed with melanoma in the palm of their hand, and sole of their feet and/or nail unit each year.2 Melanoma on the palms, soles and nail units occurs with a similar incidence in different skin types.
Melanoma risk factors include having:3-6
- A lighter complexion
- A tendency to burn instead of tan
- A history of tanning bed use:
- 32% increased risk for women with more than 30 tanning bed sessions
- 16% to 20% increased risk with any tanning bed use
- Increased sun exposure and extensive sunburns
- Immunocompromised status
- A family history of melanoma
These tips can help prevent melanoma:
- Avoid the sun, especially during the middle of the day. This is when harmful UV rays are strongest.
- Wear enough sunscreen and sun-protective, ultraviolet-protective factor (UPF) clothing.
- Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. Reapply it every 2 hours or after swimming.
- Do not use tanning beds.
- See your dermatologist (skin care physician) regularly. Early detection is key to curing melanoma.
These are some of our highly recommended sunscreens:
- Elta MD Daily SPF 40
- Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46
- Elta MD UV Physical Tinted SPF 41
- Elta MD UV Shield SPF 45
- La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Ultra Light Fluid
- La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 Melt-In Milk
- Juice Beauty Tinted Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30
- Mineral Fusion Facial Moisturizer SPF 40
- Supergoop! Daily Correct CC Cream SPF 35+
Our team provides the following prevention related services:
- Expert dermoscopic assessment of pigmented lesions
- Short-term dermoscopic monitoring
- Digital automated total body mole mapping
- Tape-stripping of moles when appropriate
- Biopsy and surgical excision of atypical pigmented lesions
- Imiquimod (Aldara) and other topic chemotherapies for skin cancers that are difficult to excise
- Genetic counseling and genetic testing for possible hereditary melanoma
- Close collaboration with our surgeons who perform Mohs surgery for lentigo maligna melanomas
- Close collaboration with our surgical oncologists for advanced cases
- Genomic testing and interpretation of borderline melanocytic tumors, such as atypical spitz tumors, pigmented epithelioid melanocytomas or other non-conventional subtypes of melanocytic tumors