Your doctor will check
your skin to look for melanoma. If your doctor thinks that you have melanoma, he or
she will remove a sample of tissue (biopsy) from the area around the melanoma. Another doctor, called a
pathologist, will look at the tissue to check for
If your biopsy shows melanoma, you may need to have
more tests to find out if it has spread to your
The most common treatment is
surgery to remove the melanoma. That is all the treatment that you may need for
early-stage melanomas that have not spread to other parts of your body.
The best way to prevent
all kinds of skin cancer, including melanoma, is to protect yourself whenever
you are out in the sun.
Try to stay out
of the sun during the middle of the day (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
Wear sun-protective clothes when you are outside, such as a hat that
shades your face, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants.
Use sunscreen every day. Your sunscreen should have an
SPF of least 30. Look for a sunscreen that protects
against both types of UV radiation in the sun's rays—UVA and
UVB. When you are outdoors for long periods of time, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
Use a higher SPF when you are at higher
Avoid sunbathing and tanning salons.
Check your skin every month for odd marks, moles, or
sores that will not heal. Check all of your skin, but pay extra attention to areas that get a lot of sun,
such as your hands, arms, and back. Ask your doctor to check your skin during
regular physical exams or at least once a year.