The main cause of malignant melanoma is
ultraviolet (UV) rays
from the sun
. These rays damage the skin. Melanoma occurs more frequently in
people who have fair skin than in people with dark skin. Risk of developing
melanoma increases with increased number of moles. The risk of developing melanoma
is greatest for people who have a large number of dysplastic nevi. Dysplastic
nevi is a kind of abnormal mole that are generally larger than ordinary moles
and have irregular and indistinct borders. Usually they are flat but parts may
be raised above the skin surface.
Personal and family
history of melanoma is also a risk factor. People who have had melanoma have
a high risk of developing a new melanoma. Artificial sources of UV radiation
such as sunlamps and tanning booths can also cause skin damage and increase
the risk of melanoma.
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