SkinCancerNet Article
How to Help a Dermatologist Assess Your Risk

Your family and personal medical histories provide vital information that help a dermatologist assess your risk for developing skin cancer, especially melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Medical research shows that a family history of melanoma greatly increases oneís risk of developing melanoma. When this risk factor, a family history of melanoma, is combined with other risk factors, such as atypical moles and a previous melanoma, the risk for developing melanoma can increase significantly. For some, the increase may be as much as 500 fold.

For this reason, it is helpful when you can provide:

  • Your own medical records concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any cancer

  • Information about which blood relatives had skin cancer and the type of skin cancer

Dermatologists frequently find that while a patient knows a close blood relative had skin cancer, the patient does not know which type of skin cancer. In some cases, dermatologists also find that patients who have had a previous skin cancer do not know which type of skin cancer they had. To accurately assess a patientís risk for developing melanoma or another skin cancer, it is important for the dermatologist to have this information. Accurate risk assessment can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.

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