This post was last updated on May 2, 2016\n \nMelanoma is a modern epidemic.\nThe number of reported melanoma cases and deaths have risen steadily in the United States over the past several generations. In fact, an estimated 72,250 new cases of the disease are diagnosed each year in the U.S.\nThe good news? Treatment is improving for advanced stages of cancer. But early detection is still critical \u2014 melanoma is largely treatable in early stages, but much more likely than other skin cancers to spread throughout the body if not detected.\nEarly-stage melanoma requires much less invasive treatment than later stages of the illness.\u00a0That\u2019s why the American Academy of Dermatology encourages the public to get tested for skin cancer on the first Monday in May \u2014 Melanoma Monday.\u00ae\nRisk Factors for Melanoma\n\nSkin color\u2013 Those with light-colored eyes and skin are at a higher risk than those with brown eyes and naturally darker skin.\nHistory of sunburns\u2013 This is a theme, particularly when the history of\u00a0sunburns\u00a0was during childhood and teenage years.\nExposure to ultraviolet radiation\u2013 Especially recreational sunbathing and tanning bed exposure put the skin at higher risk.\nMoles\u2013 An increased number of moles, or the\u00a0presence of atypical or dysplastic moles, may be a warning sign of higher risk.\nSuppressed immune systems\u2013 Certain states of immunosuppression (e.g., what is required to for organ (renal) transplant patients and those with lymphoma (e.g. Hodgkin\u2019s disease) increase vulnerability to melanoma.\nHistory of melanoma\u2013 Personal or family history of melanoma increases your predisposition for developing melanoma.\n\nMelanoma therapy has improved both surgically and medically over the past decade. But early detection and removal is still the best option for preventing death and other serious complications. Early removal reduces melanoma mortality by nearly 50 percent, according to studies.\nEven if you don\u2019t have any known risk factors, it\u2019s important to get your skin screened. Here are some quick facts about melanoma screenings:\n\nScreening is painless and quick. It only takes a few minutes.\nScreening can be done by trained primary care physicians or allied health professionals, as well as by dermatologists and medical or surgical oncologists.\nScreening should be part of annual physical examinations with your physician, as well as a monthly exercise that you do yourself at home.\n\nIs Your Mole Melanoma?\nUse our guide to melanoma self-screening to determine if your mole is suspicious. See a dermatologist as soon as possible if you believe your mole could be melanoma.