Am I at risk for melanoma?

You may be at a higher risk for developing melanoma if you have at least 5 of the criteria below. Talk to family members and your doctor about whether you are at an increased risk and the steps you can take to prevent melanoma.

  • Fair skin, light hair color, light eye color: Light skin, blonde or red hair, and blue eyes provide less protection against damaging UV rays; however, having dark skin, hair and eyes does not eliminate your risk
  • Tanning bed use: Tanning bed use before the age of 30 increases your risk of melanoma by 75 percent. Learn more about why tanning is dangerous.
  • Exposure to UV radiation: Whether it’s from natural or artificial sources, limiting your UV exposure will help decrease your risk of getting melanoma
  • Family history of melanoma: If one or more of your immediate family members has been diagnosed, this increases your chance of a diagnosis  
  • Sunburns at a young age: Just one blistering sunburn at a young age doubles your chances of a diagnosis
  • High number of moles: Individuals with 50+ moles have an increased risk
  • Previous melanoma diagnosis: A previous diagnosis increases your risk of a recurrence
  • Weakened immune system: Certain cancers and illnesses that weaken your immune system can place you at an increased risk
  • Previous non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosis: If you have been diagnosed with basal or squamous cell carcinoma in the past, you are at increased risk
  • Age: Melanoma is most common in men over the age of 50 (more common than colon, prostate and lung cancer). Melanoma is the second most common cancer in teens and young adults and is the most common type of cancer for young adults. 

Take care! Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women 25 to 30 years old and the second leading cause of cancer death in women 30 to 35 years old.