facebook pixel Learn the Facts about Melanoma
Site Search
< Blog Home < Healthy Living

Learn the Facts about Melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Learn more about it, like what causes it, what it is, and ways to reduce your risk.

Know the signs of melanoma, woman checking her arm

You may have heard that melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. And that's definitely true. But why is that? Read on for answers to this and other must-know facts about melanoma:

Q: What is melanoma?

A:Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that occurs when melanocytes—skin cells that give skin its color—begin to change and become cancerous. 

Q: Why is it so dangerous?

A: Melanoma is far less common than other types of skin cancer, such as squamous and basal cell carcinomas. But melanoma is more likely to spread deep into the skin or to other parts of the body if it isn't treated early. It can even be fatal if it is diagnosed at a late stage.

Related: Better Than Sunscreen: Dress Your Kids in UV Protective Clothing

Q: Who is at risk for melanoma?

A: You are more likely to get melanoma if you have fair skin that burns easily. But even people with dark skin can get melanoma. In fact, anyone can get this disease. One of the biggest risk factors is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light over time—including light from the sun, sunlamps, or tanning beds. If you have many moles, this can also raise your risk of melanoma.

Q: Can you prevent it?

A: You can reduce your risk by limiting UV exposure. When spending time outdoors, wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Whenever possible, stay in the shade and wear protective clothing and gear, like long-sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses. And don't try to tan—either from real sun or tanning booths.

Related: How to Choose Sunscreen and When to Reapply

Q: What does melanoma look like?

A: Signs to watch for include a new skin spot or a change in an existing mole. When evaluating moles for possible melanoma, remember the ABCDEs of melanoma:

A—Asymmetry. One half of the mole looks different from the other half.

B—Borders. The mole has irregular borders.

C—Color. The mole has multiple colors.

D—Diameter. Most melanomas are larger than a pencil eraser.

E—Evolving. The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

Tell your doctor if you notice any of these signs or if you notice other moles or skin changes that itch, ooze, bleed, or just look abnormal. Now that you know more about melanoma, do what it takes to avoid it. 

While you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living. For information on our medical and dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.

References: American Academy of Dermatology: National Cancer Institute

You May Also Like...

Healthcare and Insurance Basics

Have your circumstances recently changed? We’ve got you covered.

If you’ve recently experienced changes to your job or if you’re an employer struggling to offer coverage for your employees, here’s a look at options available to you.

Nutrition and Diet

Blueberry Banana Protein Baked Oatmeal

This healthy breakfast option is a great alternative to traditional oatmeal—especially if you prefer your breakfast on the go.

In the Community

Is Your Organization Keeping Utah Healthy? Apply for Our Award

Each year, we recognize 20 organizations that are making a healthy difference in Utah to help support their missions.

Business

Here’s Why Getting to Know Your Prospective Employer and Employee Is a Critical First Step in the Hiring Process

A few years ago, I unexpectedly landed my dream job. I want to share how it happened with the hopes that others who are searching for the perfect fit could use a similar process.

Contenido Español

Consejos para preparar un depósito de alimentos y qué tener en su despensa

Cocinar en casa no tiene que ser complicado.

Related Articles

Related Articles

Healthy Living

Why Sleep Is Important at Any Age

The amount of sleep we get varies from person to person—but quality sleep is important for everyone.

Healthy Living

Crunching Numbers For Back To School

Your back to school preparation is probably already in full swing—buying backpacks, clothes, and school supplies galore. As you look over your child’s list of supplies to buy, have you ever wondered what the most requested item is?

Healthy Living

7 Healthy Foods That Are Actually Frauds

These foods seem healthy, but they are definitely hiding something.

Healthy Living

10 Ways to Go Green for the Holidays

Here are ten ways to be more environmentally and wallet-friendly this holiday season.

Post Author

SelectHealth Staff