Factors related to menopause and use of exogenous hormones other than p.o. contraceptives were examined in 452 women ages 25-59 who were diagnosed with cutaneous malignant melanoma. Control subjects for this population-based study in the San Francisco Bay Area were 930 women of the same age. An increased risk was observed for superficial spreading melanoma (SSM) in women who reached natural menopause after age 55 [odds ratio (OR), 3.6; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1-11.1], and for women who had had a bilateral oophorectomy within 9 years of their diagnosis with SSM (OR, 2.2; CI, 1.1-4.5). A somewhat elevated risk of melanoma after natural menopause or hysterectomy was no longer statistically significant after adjustment for exogenous hormone use. Prolonged use of p.o. exogenous hormones after hysterectomy for women who had retained at least one ovary was associated with an increased risk of SSM (OR, 5.4; CI, 1.5-19.3), and use of these products for fewer than 5 years after bilateral oophorectomy also was associated with an elevated risk of SSM (OR, 2.9; CI, 1.0-7.8). Conjugated estrogen use was associated with somewhat elevated risks for SSM after hysterectomy with one ovary retained (OR, 2.7; CI, 0.97-7.3) and after hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy (OR, 2.1; CI, 0.86-5.0). There was a suggestion of a trend for increased risk of SSM with increased dosage of conjugated estrogens after hysterectomy (P for trend = 0.07). Use of vaginal creams that contained estrogen also was associated with an increased risk of SSM (OR, 1.8; CI, 1.0-3.3).