What causes melanoma?

Though the specific cause of melanoma is unknown, it appears that melanoma develops when there are problems with the DNA that controls skin cells. In people with melanoma, DNA is damaged and causes an overgrowth of skin cells, which results in a cancerous melanoma. Although it's not proven that ultraviolet (UV) light causes melanoma, skin that is exposed to UVA and UVB radiation from sun exposure or tanning beds seems to be most vulnerable to damage.

Continue Learning about Melanoma Causes & Risk Factors

Are African Americans less likely to develop melanoma than Caucasians?
Skin cancers comprise a rare 1 to 2% of all cancers in African Americans, yet the death rate is most...
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What is dysplastic nevus syndrome?
A condition called dysplastic nevus syndrome, also known as familial melanoma syndrome or famili...
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What are my odds of getting a melanoma if I've had one removed?
Ross M. Levy, MDRoss M. Levy, MD
There have been various studies looking at the incidence of second melanomas, and there is no cl...
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Does melanoma run in families?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
The risk for melanoma can run in families. If you have family members who have had melanoma, you hav...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.