You can take steps to reduce your risk of developing melanoma. Protect yourself from the sun and perform regular checkups on your skin. If you notice anything unusual in your moles or any other skin changes, see your doctor for an expert diagnosis. Learn more about melanoma diagnosis.
Melanoma Risk Factors
Some risk factors for melanoma are out of your control. However, some risk factors are in your control, and by lowering those risk factors, you can help prevent melanoma. Learn more about melanoma risk factors.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends the following steps to help reduce your risk of skin cancer:
Clothing: Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
Shade: Seek the shade when appropriate, especially when the sun's rays are the strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunscreen: Regularly use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher on all exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
Protect your children: Protect children from the sun by using shade, protective clothing and applying sunscreen.
Caution near water, snow and sand: Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, which can reflect the sun's rays and increase the chances of sunburn.
Avoid tanning beds: The UV (ultraviolet) light from tanning beds causes skin cancer, including melanoma and accelerated photoaging, wrinkling and sagging of the skin.
Annual self-checks: Check your birthday suit on your birthday. Look at your skin carefully and if you see any lesion(s) changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see your doctor. Learn more about melanoma symptoms.
Vitamin D: Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet (which may include vitamin supplements.) Don't seek out the sun to increase your vitamin D levels.
If you notice a mole that has changed in size, shape or color, or any other suspicious skin lesions, make an appointment with your doctor. Learn about the ABCD of skin cancer warnings and what melanoma symptoms look like.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.