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Melanoma: prevention, risk factors and early detection


Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and melanoma is particularly dangerous. Although it accounts for only 1 percent of skin cancer cases, melanoma spreads quickly to lymph nodes, is less curable than other skin cancer types and is responsible for most skin cancer deaths.1


Fortunately, melanoma is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Sun exposure, especially if sunburn occurs, is the leading risk factor, as is exposure to sources of artificial ultraviolet (UV) light such as that emitted from tanning beds.2 Other risk factors include a light skin complexion, the presence of congenital and acquired melanocytic nevi, and a family history of melanoma.2


Melanoma is highly curable when detected in its early stages. Several measures can help prevent melanoma. Counseling in primary care settings has been proven to modify behavior and decrease intentional tanning.3


Both Dermpath Diagnostics®, a Quest Diagnostics® company, and Dianon Pathology, a member of the LabCorp Specialty Testing Group, offer comprehensive test menus for dermatological needs, including testing of skin biopsies with analysis performed by board-certified dermatopathologists.


To learn more about Dianon Pathology, visit or call 1-800-328-2666. For more on Dermpath Diagnostics, visit


1American Cancer Society. Key statistics for melanoma skin cancer. May 19, 2016. Accessed February 26, 2019.

2Leonardi GC, Falzone L, Salemi R, et al. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)/PubMed. Cutaneous melanoma: from pathogenesis to therapy (review). Int J Oncol. April 2018; 52 (4): 1071 – 1080.

3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Skin cancer prevention progress report. June 24, 2019. Accessed July 29, 2019.