Of all the risk factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of developing melanoma, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is perhaps the most significant. Others, such as smoking, fair skin and a family history of melanoma, can play a role as well. At Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, we’re committed to helping patients take proactive steps to protect themselves against skin cancer, offering a full range of risk assessment and preventive screening services in a single location.
Melanoma risk factors are any characteristics – either inherited or acquired – that can increase a person’s risk of developing the condition. Such risk factors include:
- Sun exposure
- Indoor tanning
- Having a previous history of skin cancer
- Having fair or freckled skin
- Carrying certain genetic mutations that increase the risk of familial melanoma
- Having Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Werner syndrome, xeroderma pigmentosum or retinoblastoma
- Being 50 years of age or older
- Having a weakened immune system
While having one or more of these characteristics doesn’t necessarily mean that a person will develop melanoma, people who have an elevated risk should be particularly vigilant about having regular skin cancer screenings. An experienced Tampa dermatologist or oncologist can examine any suspicious moles to look for abnormal changes, then recommend follow-up testing as appropriate for the patient’s needs.
At Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, we’re here to help patients evaluate their melanoma risk factors. If you have a concern or would like a second opinion, you can request a visit with an oncologist who specializes in skin cancer, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.