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Risk Factors

There is no one causal factor for developing melanoma. Factors that are associated with a higher risk of developing melanoma include:

  • Appearance – including fair skin that burns or freckles easily, blue or green eyes, and blonde or red hair.
  • Sunlight exposure – exposure to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet (UV) energy (eg. tanning beds).
  • History of sunburns—history of sunburns that caused blistering, especially in childhood.
  • Many moles – having many moles, both normal and atypical.
  • Close to the equator –living closer to the equator or at a higher elevation.
  • Personal and/or family history – personal and/or family history of skin cancer, including melanoma.
  • Gender – in Australia and New Zealand, melanoma is more common in men than in women.
  • Age—risk increasing with age.
  • Weakened immune system– from disease or side effects of medicines.

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