Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and the leading cause of all skin cancer-related deaths. However, you don't have to live in fear of this disease. You can do a lot to prevent it in the first place. Here are a few tips to fight melanoma.


Check your skin regularly and thoroughly. Know the ABCD's of moles so you can recognize an abnormality early: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color that is not uniform, Diameter greater than 6 mm(about the size of a pencil eraser), and Evolving size, shape or color. Check your entire body and don't forget out-of-the-way spots that typically aren't exposed to the sun. You can develop melanoma almost anywhere on your body. If you see a mole or blemish on your skin that doesn't look right, or has changed, see your doctor.

Limit your sun exposure to early morning and late afternoon when the sun's rays are less intense. Try to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Wear sunscreen. Excessive exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation from the sun is the main cause of melanoma. Use about 1.5 ounces of sunscreen to cover your body when you're outside (that's about the size of a shot glass). Apply liberally every two hours, more if you're swimming. Look for a sunscreen that has an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 and blocks both UVA and UVB radiation (broad-spectrum sunscreen). You should wear sunscreen during the winter and even on cloudy days. Don't forget to protect your lips.

Wear protective clothing, such as a broad-rim hat to protect your head, face and ears. If you must be outdoors for an extended time, you can purchase clothing with sun protection built right into the fabric. Also, UV blocking sunglasses can help prevent melanoma of the eye.

Eat a balanced, primarily plant-based diet and include a wide variety of foods. The antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in your diet work together and boost your cancer-fighting ability.

Know your risk factors for melanoma. They include a family history, fair skin, red hair, freckles, large pigmented blemishes and a severe childhood burn.

Teach your children at a young age when and how to apply sunscreen. If they are at higher risk for melanoma, they should begin examining their skin at age 10.


Don't smoke. Smoking is the single most common cause of cancer.

Don't use a tanning bed. They are even more dangerous than the sun.