This year, about 62,000 people in the U.S. will learn they have a potentially deadly form of skin cancer called melanoma. The good news is, if you find it early, the cure rate is very good. The bad news is, if you get one spot of melanoma, like the one pictured, that increases your risk for getting another one later.
Dr. Daniel Coit and his colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center wanted to understand more about those risk factors. Their findings in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicate if you have a family history of melanoma, or if you have one of these odd-looking light brown freckles or moles, called dysplastic nevi, again, your risk goes up.
And there's more. "If you have a second primary melanoma, you have up to a 30% chance of getting a third primary melanoma," said Dr. Coit.
Dr. Coit says no matter what factor puts you in a high risk group for melanoma...if you are, then you need to get checked often by a dermatologist for the rest of your life.
The JAMA report followed almost 5,000 people and tracked their skin health for 3 years to determine the risk of getting multiple melanomas. If you'd like to read more about the JAMA report, click here.