What are the greatest melanoma myths? We ask Pascale Guitera, dermatologist at Melanoma Institute Australia.
Myth #1: The worst melanomas are the very dark ones.
Truth: Variation of colour is actually the thing to look out for, meaning if a mole has two or more different colours – pink, blue, brown, etc. Bad melanomas are not always dark.
Myth #2: Only people who have had high sun exposure throughout their lives develop melanoma.
Truth: You do not have to have had a lot of sun exposure to get melanoma. There are other risk factors that can put people at higher risk of developing melanoma. These include your age, your skin colour, your mole count (100-plus moles are at higher risk), whether you have had a previous skin cancer, whether you have a family history, your genetic make-up.
Myth #3: People with dark/black skin can’t get melanoma.
Truth: Black people can get melanoma, especially on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet. Jamaican singer Bob Marley died from melanoma. Olive-skinned people do develop melanoma like fair-skinned people but their threshold of sunburn is higher.
Myth #4: Melanoma develops from an existing mole.
Truth: Most melanoma are completely new and can be very small to begin with.
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