Can You Really Reduce Your Risk of Melanoma?

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Image Credit: stockimages via

The American Cancer Society recently estimated that roughly 76,000 individuals will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2014. Although melanoma only comprises 2 percent of skin cancer cases, majority of skin cancer deaths arise from it. Fortunately, melanoma can be successfully treated as long as it is detected early.

At the Matsuda Dermatology in Honolulu, we constantly update our clients about the latest trends in melanoma research, particularly with regards to minimizing one’s risk.

Understanding the Risk Factors of Melanoma

Melanoma is not only caused by a single risk factor but rather a combination of several components. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  have identified the following in the development of melanoma:

  • genetics
  • frequent exposure to ultraviolet rays
  • indoor tanning
  • presence of freckles
  • the number of moles a person has
  • being fair-skinned
  • history of severe sunburns

Amongst these factors, one can deduced that the following factors can be controlled: frequent sun exposure, indoor tanning, and history of severe sunburns.

Is Sunscreen Use Enough?

Although the use of sunscreens have been encouraged and heavily promoted over the years in reducing one’s risk of melanoma, we would like to point out here at our practice that it’s not enough to rely on sunscreen alone.  In fact, a 2011 study by researchers from the Department of Dermatology in Stanford University School of Medicine had surprising findings — wearing hats and protective clothing is actually more effective than sunscreens in preventing sunburns.

Cover Up!

Although we’re not instructing our clients to stop using suncreen, we would like to further emphasize the importance of wearing protective clothing and accessories in reducing your risk of melanoma and skin cancer in general.

Apart from sunscreen use, we recommend the following:

  • Wear clothing that are made from fabric with an SPF level of 30 even after multiple washes.
  • Make it a habit to wear wide-brimmed hats to reduce exposure of the head and neck.  If possible, find hats with a 360-degree brim which also protect the neck, ears, and eyes.
  • Choose sunglasses that can also block 99 percent of UV radiation.

If you’d like find out on how you can personally reduce your risk of melanoma, get in touch with us by calling 808-949-7568 or by filling out this contact form today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to your visit!