What Causes Melanoma?


What causes melanoma?

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Jully Adudu 12 months 1 Answer 145 views Active Member 0

Answer ( 1 )

  1. Melanoma is caused by skin cells that begin to develop abnormally. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is thought to cause most melanomas, but there’s evidence to suggest that some may result from sunbed exposure.

    The type of sun exposure that causes melanoma is sudden intense exposure – for example, while on holiday, which leads to sunburn.

    Certain things can increase your chances of developing melanoma, such as having:

    • lots of moles or freckles
    • pale skin that burns easily
    • red or blonde hair
    • a close family member who’s had melanoma

    Most skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet (UV) light damaging the DNA in skin cells. The main source of UV light is sunlight.

    Sunlight contains three types of UV light:

    • ultraviolet A (UVA)
    • ultraviolet B (UVB)
    • ultraviolet C (UVC)

    UVC is most dangerous to the skin but is filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere. UVA and UVB damage pale skin over time, making it more likely for skin cancers to develop. UVB is thought to be the main cause of skin cancer overall, but it isn’t yet known whether UVA also plays a role in causing melanoma.

    Artificial sources of light, such as sunlamps and tanning beds, also increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

    Repeated sunburn, either by the sun or artificial sources of light, increases the risk of melanoma in people of all ages.


    You’re at an increased risk of melanoma if you have lots of moles on your body, particularly if they’re large (over 5mm) or unusually shaped.

    For this reason, it’s important to monitor your moles for changes and avoid exposing them to intense sun.

    Other risk factors

    You’re also more likely to develop melanoma skin cancer if you have:

    • a close relative who’s had melanoma skin cancer
    • pale skin that doesn’t tan easily
    • red or blonde hair
    • blue eyes
    • a large number of freckles
    • previously damaged your skin through sunburn or radiotherapy treatment
    • a condition that suppresses your immune system, such as HIV, or you take medicines that suppress your immune system (immunosuppressants)
    • a previous diagnosis of skin cancer

    The risk of developing skin cancer also increases with age.

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