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Melanoma Prevention

Can Melanoma Be Prevented?

Nearly 90% of cutaneous melanomas are related to excess ultraviolet (UV) exposure.1
This is a major risk factor that you can prevent over the course of your lifetime.

However, some risk factors for cutaneous melanoma cannot be prevented:

  • Having an excessive amount of moles
  • Dysplastic nevi or atypical moles*
  • Familial atypical multiple mole and melanoma syndrome (FAMMM)*
  • Congenital melanocytic nevi*
Lighter physical features
  • Red or blonde hair
  • Blue or green eyes
  • Fair skin that sunburns or freckles easily
Family history of melanoma

First-degree relatives, such as parents, siblings or children

Situations that weaken the immune system
  • Medications that alter the immune response
  • Conditions such as HIV
Xeroderma pigmentosum*

Additionally, some risk factors for ocular melanoma also cannot be prevented:

Choroidal nevi**
Ocular/oculodermal melanocytosis**
Familial uveal melanoma**
  • Having an excessive amount of cutaneous moles
  • Dysplastic nevi or atypical moles
Lighter physical features
  • Blue or green eyes
  • Fair skin that sunburns or freckles easily
Personal or family history of cancer**

*Visit the American Cancer Society for additional details about the condition and its relationship with cutaneous melanoma.2

**Visit the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Uveal Melanoma Guidelines for additional details about the condition and its relationship with ocular melanoma.3

Melanoma prevention is best approached in two ways 4:

primary prevention

Primary prevention is defined as reducing or limiting exposure to UV radiation to prevent melanoma from occurring.

primary prevention

Secondary prevention is defined as detecting melanoma in its earliest stages through regular screenings.

Click on a box below to learn more about PREVENTION and EARLY DETECTION of cutaneous, ocular, and mucosal melanomas at every age!


Learn more about sun safety for babies, infants and school-age children!

Teen & Young Adult

Teens and young adults can enjoy life and still practice sun safety habits!


It’s never too late to learn about melanoma prevention!


  1. US Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer. Washington (DC): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2014. Skin Cancer as a Major Public Health Problem. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK247164/
  2. American Cancer Society, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html
  3. National Comprehensive Cancer Network: Uveal Melanoma Guidelines, https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/uveal.pdf
  4. Suppa M, Daxhelet M, del Marmol V. Dépistage du mélanome [Melanoma secondary prevention]. Rev Med Brux. 2015;36(4):255-259.

Content last updated August 2021