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Melanoma Risk Factors

  • Gender – Men are more likely to develop melanoma than women.
  • Age – The rate of melanoma increases with age.
  • Race – Whites have about 10 times higher risk of developing melanoma than African Americans. Whites with fair skin that freckles or burns easily have the highest risk.
  • UV radiation and sunburn – Exposure to light from tanning booths or sunlight increases the risk for melanoma.
  • Immune system suppression – People treated with medicines that suppress the immune system have increased risk of melanoma.
  • Moles – The number of moles or size of moles increases the risk for melanoma.
  • Family history – If one or more first-degree relatives have been diagnosed with melanoma, the risk to develop melanoma is greater.