Screening and prevention

Oxford American handbook of oncology. Second Edition. Oxford University Press (2015)

Strenuous efforts must be made to minimize the occurrence of melanoma and to maximize the chances of early diagnosis where curative treatment is possible.

Exposure to sunlight has been identified as the major modifiable risk factor. This has led to public health drives to promote sun avoidance:

  • The Australian “Slip (on a shirt), Slap (on a hat), Slop (on sunscreen)” campaign
  • Promotion of artificial tanning products as an acceptable cosmetic alternative to UV exposure
  • Sun hats as part of the uniform in some schools

Screening may be an appropriate option for patients deemed at particular risk for the disease, e.g., those with a strong family history of melanoma or with a personal history of any skin cancer or of blistering sunburn in early life.

Serial photographs can be useful in patients with a high mole burden, as can inspection via a magnifying dermatoscope.


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