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Who are more prone to get melanoma?

Melanoma occurs more frequently in the fair skinned, but rarely may develop in people with darker skin as well. Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence of melanoma in the world. About one in fifteen white skinned New Zealanders are expected to develop melanoma in their lifetime.It was the third most common cancer registration in New Zealand in females and the fourth most common cancer for males in 2000.

The main risk factors for developing melanoma include:

  • Sun exposure, particularly during childhood
  • Fair skin that burns easily
  • Blistering sunburn, especially when young
  • Previous melanoma
  • Previous non-melanoma skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma )
  • Family history of melanoma, especially if two or more members are affected
  • Large numbers of moles (especially if there are more than 100)
  • Abnormal moles (called atypical or dysplastic naevi)

You may now wish to see how we diagnose skin cancers