Of the 1 million types of skin cancer reported each year. Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer identified by the Mayo Clinic. Melanoma is the most serious and aggressive type of carcinoma.
Melanoma is not the most common form of cancer, but once melanoma begins it spreads rapidly on the skin and, if left untreated, spreads to lymph nodes, organs, and bones.
It is important to recognize and understand risk factors associated with melanoma. There are certain predictors that may indicate you have a greater or lesser propensity toward developing melanoma.
Predictors are not a sentence indicating that you will develop melanoma. On the other hand, you may have non of the predictors and still develop melanoma. It is important to stay in touch with your dermatologist if you develop any asymmetrical, scaly, or colored lesions on your skin.
Indicators that you may be at risk for Melanoma skin cancer.
Melanoma generally runs in families, according to Webmd.com. The presence of asymmetrical moles, flat scaly skin lesions, or rough brownish looking spots may be an indication that melanoma runs in your family.
Check your family medical history to find out if you have relatives who have developed melanoma. This does not mean that you will have skin cancer, but it should serve as a caution for you to pay attention to changes in your skin.
Sun worshippers should check their skin for melanoma or other skin cancers.
Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun significantly increases your chances of developing skin cancer. Most sunbathers develop Squamous cell carcinoma, but all skin cancer should be checked and treated by a doctor.
Do not make the assumption that because you have been in the sun odd, dark marks or lesions on your skin are not dangerous. Whether they are Squamous cell carcinoma or Melanoma they need to be treated.
Fair skin and fair haired people.
People with fair skin, red or blonde hair, and blue or green eyes are more at risk of developing any of the different types of skin cancer. If you skin is very fair, you should check yourself at least once a year for signs of melanoma. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that each year on your birthday you should check your birthday suit.
If you work outdoors and your face is exposed to the sun, especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm, you may be at a greater risk for developing melanoma. Melanoma is most common on areas of the body exposed to skin.
Older adults may be at a greater risk of developing Melanoma.
Adults tend to develop Melanoma as they age. It is the result of spending multiple years in the sun. Adults 55 and older should have their skin checked regularly for signs of Melanoma or other skin cancers. Cancers, such as basal cell melanoma, that develop in adults can be easily treated by freezing, topical creams, and surgical removal. Some cases require radiation, but there is a 90% cure rate for basal cell cancer.
If cancer identified in adults is not basal cell carcinoma, then it is better that Melanoma is identified early in order to successfully treat it.
Individuals with weakened immune systems.
Another set of individuals who are at risk of developing Melanoma, according to the Mayo Clinic, or other skin cancers are those whose autoimmune systems are compromised. Whether illness, medication, or other medical procedures have caused your immune system to be weakened, it is even more important that you protect yourself from exposure to the sun.
Pay attention to your skin. Have a doctor check irregular marks, moles, or sores that will not heal. Make sure to check your hands and face and other areas of your skin that are often exposed to the sun. Melanoma is usually caused by extended exposure to the sun it can also occur on skin that has never been exposed to the sun.
Basal Cell Carcinoma, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School
Health: Skin Cancer, Mayo Clinic
Squamous Cell Carcinoma, American Academy of Dermatology, aad.org
What is Melanoma Skin Cancer?, Webmd.com