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A risk factor is something that increases your chances for developing a certain disease, like melanoma. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer. Similarly, people without any risk factors may develop the disease.
Melanoma Risk Factors
Some risk factors are out of your control, such as your complexion or family history. However, some risk factors, such as exposure to the sun, are factors you can control. Learn more about melanoma prevention. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be at risk for melanoma.
People with the following characteristics may be at an increased risk for melanoma:
Blond or red hair
Fair complexion/inability to tan
Tendency to sunburn
Dysplastic nevi (also called atypical moles)
Family history of melanoma
Personal history of melanoma
Many ordinary moles (more than 50-100)
An immunosuppressive disorder
Excessive exposure to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds)
Early childhood sunburns
History of non-melanoma skin cancers or actinic keratosis
Dark Skin and Melanoma
Darker brown or black skin is not a guarantee against melanoma. African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians are at lower risk of the more common sun-related melanoma types. However, they can develop this cancer, especially on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and under the fingernails and toenails.
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.