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Exams and Tests

To check for melanoma and whether or not it has spread, your doctor may:

Other techniques may include total-body photography to look for changes in any mole and to watch for new moles appearing in normal skin. A series of photos of the suspicious lesions may be taken. Then the photos can be used as a baseline to compare with follow-up photos.

Finding skin cancer early

  • Do a skin self-examcamera.gif once a month. Your partner or a close friend can help you check places that are hard to see, such as your scalp and back.
  • Have your doctor check any suspicious skin changes. Be sure you see your doctor at least once a year. You may need checkups more often if you have:
    • Familial atypical mole and melanoma (FAM-M) syndrome, which is an inherited tendency to develop melanoma. Your doctor may need to check you every 4 to 6 months.
    • Increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation because of your job, hobbies, or outdoor activities.
    • Abnormal moles called atypical moles. These moles aren't cancerous. But their presence is a warning of an inherited tendency to develop melanoma.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 12, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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