Certain factors may put you at a higher risk of developing melanoma. While some of these factors can be controlled, others can not. However, the more you know about the risks associated with melanoma, the more proactive you can be protecting yourself.
Keep in mind that risk factors don’t tell us everything. Just because you have a risk factor (or factors) does not guarantee that you will develop melanoma. Likewise, some people who develop melanoma or another type of skin cancer may not have known risk factors. Regardless, it can be wise to err on the side of caution when it comes to your skin to lower your overall risk.
The primary risk factor for melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, including sunlight and tanning beds. The more UV radiation you are exposed to, the higher your chances of developing skin cancer.
Since exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the primary risk factor for developing melanoma, prevention starts there. Do all you can to protect yourself from UV rays all year round, not just during the summer. Even on cloudy or hazy days, UV rays can reach your skin. Furthermore, UV rays can reach your skin by reflecting off surfaces, including water, cement, sand, and snow.
The most hazardous hours of the day for UV exposure are between 10 am and 4 pm, so it may be wise to practice extra caution during that time. In North America, UV rays from sunlight are the most intense during late spring and early summer.