Prevention of Melanoma

Regular skin self-examination is essential to prevent primary melanoma and metastatic disease. It is recommended that all individuals, regardless of risk factors, examine their skin regularly for suspicious growths to provide early detection and improve the outcome. Sun protection, including minimizing overall exposure, regular use of sunscreen, wearing hats and protective clothing, and avoiding tanning beds decreases the risk for developing melanoma. Patients who are at increased risk for developing the disease should be regularly examined by a dermatologist, perhaps using photographs to help assess skin changes.

Once melanoma has been diagnosed, routine follow-ups should be performed every 3 to 12 months to check for recurrence and to check for a second primary melanoma. In some cases, tumor depth indicates that the patient also should have yearly laboratory tests and chest x-rays.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 24 Aug 2015