6 Things to Know About Melanoma

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The most serious skin cancer

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. Its incidence has doubled in the past 30 years, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Here are six things you should know about this disease.

  1. It can be sudden

Melanomas may appear on the skin without warning, but it can also develop from an existing mole.

  1. It can be deadly

Melanoma is highly treatable when detected early. But if not, melanoma can spread and result in death. An estimated 10,000 people are expected to die from melanoma in 2016.

  1. Ultraviolet light is to blame

Exposure to natural ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and artificial UV light from tanning beds increases your odds for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma.

  1. Sunburns boost your risk

Experiencing five or more blistering sunburns between ages 15 and 20 increases your melanoma risk by 80 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

  1. Age increases your risk

People older than 65 may experience melanoma more frequently because of ultraviolet light exposure they've received over the years.

  1. Other factors to blame

Other possible risk factors for melanoma include your genetic makeup and any immune system deficiencies you may have.