Melanoma

  • Alternative Names

    Skin cancer - melanoma


    Prevention

    Anyone who has recovered from melanoma should carefully follow preventive guidelines and watch closely for suspicious marks. Your risk for developing a new melanoma is increased, even if the first one was cured. The disease may return years after the original diagnosis.

    The American Cancer Society recommends professional skin examinations every year for people older than 40, and every 3 years for people ages 20 - 40.

    Self-examination is also recommended. You should examine your skin once a month, using a mirror to check hard-to-see places. Call your doctor if you notice any suspicious skin changes.

    Protect yourself from the sunlight's damaging ultraviolet rays by doing the following:

    • Apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day (during winter months as well)
    • Avoid lying in the sun or using tanning devices
    • Minimize sun exposure
      • Especially during the summer
      • Particularly between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
    • Wear protective clothing, including a hat and sunglasses

    References

    Clinical practice guidline for melanoma: NCCN Medical Practice Guidelines and Oncology:V.2.2009. Accessed July 15, 2009.

    Goodson AG, Grossman D. Strategies for early melanoma detection: Approaches to the patient with nevi. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009;60:719-735.

    Markovick SN, Erickson LA, Rao RD, Weenig RH, Prockaj BA, Bardia A, et al. Malignant melanoma in the 21st century, part 1: epidemiology, risk factors, screening, prevention, and diagnosis. Mayo Clin Proc. 2007;82:364-380.

    Markovick SN, Erickson LA, Rao RD, Weenig RH, Prockaj BA, Bardia A, et al. Malignant melanoma in the 21st century, part 2: staging, prognosis, and treatment. Mayo Clin Proc. 2007;82:490-513.