Melanoma has increased more than any other cancer in the last 50 years. In Italy today, for every 100,000 people there are 11-12 cases, compared to 4-5 in the 1980s. In 30-50% of cases, it develops due to a pre-existing melanocytic nevus or mole, and in other cases it develops on healthy skin, usually on the arms and legs in women, and on the torso in men. The risk of melanoma peaks between the ages of 35 and 50. Risk factors are skin type (those with blonde or red hair and freckles, who burn easily) and moles, in conjunction with genetic predisposition. The main external factor is exposure to sunlight. It’s therefore important to use preventative measures such as UVA and UVB sunscreens, and wear protective clothing against sunburn.
Dermatoscopy has become increasingly important in diagnosis, since it can identify subtle melanomas in up to 49% of cases, and can help identify non-pigmented melanoma, which is more difficult to diagnose.