Melanoma risk has a lot to do with genetics, and currently we can't change our genes.
Melanoma risk is also closely related to sun exposure, particularly sunburns during the first ten years of life - we have to care for our children.
- Use sunscreen extensively all year round - at least factor 15 or 30, even in winter;
- Never allow yourself or your children to be sunburnt;
- Especially avoid the midday sun, but also between 10am and 4pm;
- Apply sunscreen 20 minutes prior to sun exposure, reapply after it becomes wet or four hourly;
- Think seriously about your vitamin D level (see vitamin D deficiency article);
- Avoid solariums;
- Wear protective clothing: hats with broad brims that cover the neck, sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB, tightly woven clothing that covers the arms and legs;
- Perform 3 monthly skin self examination (see self examination article);
- Report any skin change immediately;
- Have an annual skin cancer check performed by a qualified practitioner.
- If you've had a melanoma, or have a first degree relative with melanoma, or have the dysplastic naevus syndrome or if you want to assess your risk factor, think of having sequential total body mapping with computer analyzed diagnosis offered at Bayside Skin Cancer Clinic.
Melanoma is the commonest malignancy between ages 19 and 40 years.
One in 14 Australian males and one in 25 Australian females will develop melanoma during their lifetime.
Having an affected first degree relative, doubles your risk further
Nodular melanoma can develop rapidly. They can grow one mm in depth monthly. At 4 mm in depth 50% will have spread via metastasis.
Prevention, 3 monthly self examinations, annual professional skin checks are important.