The risk of developing melanoma may be reduced by avoiding exposure to UV light. This can be accomplished by wearing sun-protective clothing (such as a hat, long-sleeved clothing, and sunglasses), avoiding direct exposure to the sun between 9 AM and 3 PM, avoiding tanning beds, and using sunscreen. Sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB light and with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or greater should be used.
The American Cancer Society recommends skin examination by a medical professional every 3 years for people aged 20 to 40 years and every year for those who are older. Persons at higher risk should carefully examine their own skin monthly and be frequently examined professionally.
When discovered early, melanoma can usually be cured with surgery. After removal, management may include immunotherapy with interferon, close monitoring, or participation in a clinical trial. Once melanoma spreads (metastasizes) throughout the body, survival is usually shortened. Treatment of metastatic melanoma may include further surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy with a medicine like dacarbazine, immunotherapy with a medicine such as interleukin 2 or ipilimumab, or participation in a clinical trial. New treatments for melanoma are being studied in clinical trials, including medications targeting tumor growth pathways, blood vessel production, and the immune system.