Fast Five Quiz: Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers

William James, MD


July 01, 2021

Retrospective case-control analyses from the Mayo Clinic concluded that patients with Parkinson disease have about a fourfold increased risk of having preexisting melanoma, and patients with melanoma have a similar risk of developing Parkinson disease. The results support studies by other researchers showing an increased risk for melanoma in patients with Parkinson disease.

The relative incidence of melanoma in men and women varies markedly by age: In people younger than 50 years, incidence rates are higher in women than in men, but by age 65 years, they are twice as high in men as in women, and by age 80 years they are three times as high as in men. Those differences primarily reflect differences in occupational and recreational sun exposure, which have changed over time. Women tend to have lesions that are nonulcerated and thinner than those in men.

Acute, intense, and intermittent blistering sunburns, especially on areas of the body that only occasionally receive sun exposure, are the greatest risk factor for the development of sun exposure–induced melanoma. This sun-associated risk factor is different from that for SCC and BCC, which are associated with prolonged, long-term sun exposure.

Greatly elevated risk factors for cutaneous melanoma include the following:

  • Changing mole

  • Dysplastic nevi in familial melanoma

  • More than 50 nevi, 2 mm or greater in diameter

Moderately elevated risk factors for cutaneous melanoma include the following:

  • One family member with melanoma

  • Previous history of melanoma

  • Sporadic dysplastic nevi

  • Congenital nevus

Slightly elevated risk factors for cutaneous melanoma include the following:

  • Immunosuppression

  • Sun sensitivity

  • History of acute, severe, blistering sunburns

  • Freckling

Review clinical images of moles and melanomas in this slideshow.


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