3. You can’t completely avoid melanoma, but you can reduce your risk. Melanomas can occur anywhere on the body, and often show up on a person’s back, face, arms and legs. Dr. Valle notes that some melanoma lesions can also occur in non-sun exposed areas like the bottoms of the feet, the lower abdomen or under the fingernails. The best prevention is to limit exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays – think wearing SPF daily on your face and any exposed areas, wearing hats, sunglasses and protective clothing, and staying out of the sun during the middle of the day (from about 10 am to 3 pm) when the sun is at its hottest.
4. An annual checkup from your dermatologist is essential. Seeing your dermatologist will help ensure you catch any suspected issues early. Schedule these visits annually and immediately report any skin changes between visits. If your dermatologist finds an abnormal or suspicious mole during a skin cancer screening exam, they may recommend it be removed. According to Dr. Valle, removal of pre-cancerous moles is one of the best ways to prevent melanoma.
5. Surgical expertise is needed for effective treatment. The mainstay of melanoma treatment is surgical removal of the skin cancer – it’s the gold standard. However, when melanoma has spread beyond the primary site, surgery followed by immunotherapy may be necessary to effectively treat the disease.