You may be aware of the usual suspects that’ll put you at a higher risk for melanoma: history of blistering sunburns; red or blonde hair; tanning beds; outdoor summer jobs as a teen; and a family history of melanoma, to name a few of the big ones. But new research shows there are other risk factors unrelated to sun exposure that should put everyone on alert, says Darrell S. Rigel, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.
- Women with a prior history of breast cancer have a twofold to threefold risk of developing melanoma.
- Women with a prior history of thyroid cancer have a twofold risk of developing melanoma.
- Women and men with a history of noncancerous moles and a family history of melanoma have a 50 percent greater risk of developing melanoma.
If you have one of these risk factors, be sure to see your dermatologist for a full-body scan at least once a year. It’s also smart to do self-exams each month to monitor changes in skin spots and moles.
Most importantly, don’t forget the toxin-free sunscreen! Even in non-summer months, it’s always important to use sun protection. For more information on sunscreen, see Do You Know What’s in Your Sunscreen?
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