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What are the causes of melanoma?

The predominant cause of melanoma is ultraviolet  (UV)  light exposure. Exposure to UV light can increase your chances of developing melanoma. Scientists have also proven that some people have genes that make them more prone to having melanoma than others. For these people, they stand the chance of getting melanoma easier, when exposed to UV light, than others who do not have the gene.

UV light comes from the sun. It also comes from tanning beds as well. The UV light can cause melanoma to develop on your skin; it can make a mole in your skin to turn to melanoma.

Who is at risk of having melanoma?

Since UV light comes from the sun, and exposure to it puts you at risk of having melanoma, then we know that basically everyone on earth is at risk. Anybody can have melanoma, including light-skinned and dark people, although light-skinned people have it more. However, certain facts place people at greater risk of having melanoma than others.

Factors that increase your chances of having melanoma

As we know, some factors and situations make some people more prone to having melanoma than others.

These factors are;

1. Skin type and body composition

Certain body features place people at greater risk of having melanoma than others. These features include light skin and hair, blue or green eyes. Other factors include;

  • having an easily burned skin
  • moles on the body ( large ones)
  • multiple moles on the body (up to 20 or more)
  • having a skin type that is sensitive to the sun
  • having an obvious mole

Having the features mentioned above makes you more likely to have melanoma.

2. Medical history

As previously established, some people have genes that make them more prone to melanoma than others. If you have a family member who has had melanoma, or currently has it, then you are at risk of having melanoma as well.

3. Your location

People living in some parts of the world face greater risk of melanoma due to greater exposure to UV light from the sun. A good example is the equator. At the equator, the sunlight is much more intense than other parts of the world. People living in these areas face greater risk of developing melanoma later in life.

This is as a result of sunburns, mostly in young people of ages 15 – 20. When they approach their later years, usually from the age of 60, they end up having melanoma due to the accumulated rate of UV exposure over the years. Having sunburns increases the risk of melanoma by about 80%. Because of this, dermatologists in London advice people to protect their skin from the sun, especially when outdoors.

4. Medical conditions and medications

It might sound surprising, but some medications and medical conditions can increase your risk of having melanoma. Diseases like Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS),  other types of skin cancer, or other types of cancer can increase your chances of having melanoma. This is because they affect your immune system.

During organ transplant, some medications are taken to prevent organ rejection. These medications equally increase the risk of melanoma because they reduce the activity of the immune system.

5. Use of tanning beds and sunlamps

Indoor tanning beds tend to increase the risk of melanoma by 59%. This is because of the UV light they emit. Constant use of these materials will further increase the risk of melanoma.



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