What methods are available to help prevent melanoma?
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.