Melanoma 101: Introduction to a Deadly Skin Cancer

  • Medical Author: Jeffrey John Meffert, MD
  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

View Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideSun-Damaged Skin Pictures Slideshow

Sun-Damaged Skin Pictures Slideshow

What methods are available to help prevent melanoma?

  1. Reducing sun exposure: Avoidance of sun exposure is the best means of helping to prevent melanoma, followed by wearing hats and tightly woven clothing, and then followed by broad-spectrum waterproof sunscreens applied liberally and often. The consensus among dermatologists is that sunscreens are at least partially helpful and are certainly preferable to unprotected sun exposure. (Despite sensational articles in the popular press, there is no credible evidence that sunscreens can cause melanoma. Data to indicate increased melanoma risk did not take into consideration that the sunscreens used by the subjects [at least as well as they could remember after decades] were far inferior to current products, which usually have much higher ultraviolet B SPF protection as well as ultraviolet A protection.)
  2. Early detection: Get one's skin checked at least once. Then, if it is recommended, have one's skin checked on a regular basis. The American Academy of Dermatology sponsors free skin cancer screening clinics every May all over the country. Special "Pigmented Lesion Clinics" have also been established in many medical centers to permit close clinical and photographic follow-up of patients at high risk.
  3. Screening of high-risk individuals: Anyone at high risk, such as anyone with a close relative who has melanoma, should be screened by a doctor for melanoma.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/3/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Cancer Report Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Symptoms

    What did your melanoma look like when you first noticed it? What was the size of the growth?

    Post View 17 Comments
  • Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Diagnosis

    What was the stage of your melanoma when it was diagnosed?

    Post View 40 Comments
  • Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Risk Factors and Causes

    What risk factors do you have for melanoma? What are your concerns?

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Treatment

    What kinds of treatment, including surgery, did you receive for melanoma?

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Prevention

    What steps do you take to prevent melanoma or other skin cancers?

    Post View 1 Comment

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors