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Melanoma Risk Factors

Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or from tanning lamps, beds, or booths is a major risk factor for both melanoma and other skin cancers. Other factors that may increase your risk of melanoma include:

  • A family history of melanoma
  • A personal history of melanoma, meaning you have had melanoma in the past
  • Severe blistering sunburns, especially at a young age
  • Red or blonde hair or fair skin that freckles or sunburns easily
  • Having a lot of moles, or having unusual moles, known as dysplastic nevi
  • Being white or Caucasian

Being at risk does not mean that you will definitely develop skin cancer. However, since your chances of developing a cancer are greater than those of someone who has no special risk factors, your doctor may advise you to have more frequent skin cancer screenings.

Fox Chase Cancer Center offers genetic counseling and testing for people at high risk of melanoma because of personal or family medical history. Learn more about Melanoma Risk Assessment at Fox Chase.