Preventing Melanoma

Some individuals have a genetic mutation and family history that makes them highly susceptible to developing melanoma. They may require lifelong surveillance. For others, the best way to prevent melanoma is to take precautions against ultraviolet (UV) rays from sun light, sun lamps and tanning beds.

Melanoma precautions include:

  • Wearing protective clothing and using a sunscreen that has "broad spectrum" protection against both UVA and UVB rays in sun light
  • Minimizing sun exposure during the middle of the day
  • Taking precautions against sunlight reflected from sand, snow or water
  • Ensuring that children have adequate sun protection
  • Having suspicious lesions or moles looked at by your physician
  • Becoming familiar with the "ABCDE" guidelines of melanoma: asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, diameter and evolving changes

More than 70 percent of melanomas are discovered by the patient or a family member. For more information or to schedule a consultation with a melanoma surgeon at Virginia Mason, in Seattle, call (206) 223-6831.