What Are the Risk Factors for Melanoma

What Are the Risk Factors for Melanoma?

• Ultraviolet exposure. Ultraviolet exposure from the sun's rays and tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma. Ultraviolet radiation induces a surge of free radical production in the skin, which damages DNA and causes gene mutations in the chromosomes of melanocytes, leading to melanoma. People with fair skin have a higher risk of melanoma compared to people with darker skin.

• Moles. Individuals who have more than 50 moles on their bodies have an increased risk of melanoma. The majority of moles are harmless and do not affect daily life activities, but a small number of moles may be susceptible to transforming into cancerous cells. For example, atypical moles—which are larger and abnormally shaped—are of particular concern, because they can develop into melanoma.

• Family and genetics. About 90% of melanoma is attributed to environmental factors, and only 10% is linked to genetics. Having a parent or sibling who has suffered from melanoma increases your risk of the disease twofold. CDKN2A gene polymorphic variants are associated with melanoma. The CDKN2A gene encodes a protein that is responsible for controlling cell division. Mutations of the CDKN2A gene lead to uncontrollable cell division and increase the risk of melanoma.