Ultra Violet (UV) Light
Ultra Violet (UV) light from the sun causes more than 90% of all cases of melanoma. Here in New Zealand we are particularly at risk because of the hole in the ozone layer that reduces the natural protection afforded to other parts of the world.
If you have had severe sunburn during your early life, you are more at risk of developing melanoma as an adult (but you can still develop melanoma even if you were never sun-burnt as a child).
Using sunbeds is associated with a greater risk of developing melanoma.
If you have lots of moles on your body (more than 50-100) you are more at risk of developing melanoma.
If you have fair skin and burn easily you are more at risk.
A family history of melanoma can mean you are more at risk.
If you have already had one melanoma, you are more likely to develop more.
Previous skin cancer
If you have already had any type of skin cancer, you are more likely to develop melanoma.
Most cases of melanoma are identified in people aged over 50 but that could be due to greater diligence and awareness in younger generations of the need to protect themselves against the sun. Some 30% of cases still occur in people under the age of 35.
Whatever your age or ethnic origin, take steps to protect your skin and be aware of any changes in your skin. Always seek the advice of a doctor if you notice any changes or are worried.