NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Part 1: About melanoma
is a rare medical condition. It is passed down from
parents to children. It causes an extreme skin reaction
to UV radiation because the skin can’t heal itself well.
Xeroderma pigmentosum increases the risk for both
melanoma and other types of skin cancer.
About half of all melanomas occur in people
older than age 50. However, melanoma is one of the
most common cancers in people younger than age 30.
This may stem from more use of tanning beds in this age
group. People with a family history of melanoma may
also develop melanoma at a young age.
Some diseases and drugs weaken
the immune system—the body’s natural defense against
infection and disease. If you have a weakened immune
system, you may have a higher risk of developing melanoma.
The number of people with melanoma is increasing, but
there are ways to reduce your risk. Check your skin and
tell your doctor about any changes in your moles or skin.
If you have many moles, a dermatologist should check
your skin regularly. A dermatologist is a doctor who’s an
expert in treating skin conditions.
One of the most important ways to prevent skin cancer
is to limit your sun exposure. Parents should make sure
their children have sun protection. Protecting children is
very important since sunburns at an early age can greatly
increase the risk for melanoma later in life. There are
many ways to protect your skin:
• Stay in the shade.
This is the best way to avoid UV
light when outdoors.
• Wear clothes that protect your skin.
shirts, long pants, and hats with brims make a
difference. You can find clothing at sporting goods
stores made from fabrics designed to limit UV
• Use broad-spectrum sunscreen
with an SPF
actor) of 15 or higher every day,
because UV light is always present. Broad-spectrum
sunscreen protects against UVA (
iolet-B) rays. Apply more sunscreen if
you sweat or after swimming since it may have come
off. Don’t use sunscreen to increase the time spent
in the sun. UV light can still reach the skin when
• Wear wraparound sunglasses
with 99% to 100%
UVA and UVB protection. These glasses provide the
best protection for the eye area.
• Don’t use tanning beds or lamps.
expose skin to UV radiation and aren’t safer than
sun exposure. Also, “getting a base tan” at a salon
will not prevent sunburn or lower exposure to