Skip to content

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Skin Cancer, Melanoma - When To Call a Doctor

The most important warning sign for melanoma is a change in size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin growth (such as a birthmark). Call your doctor if you have:

  • Any change in a mole, including size, shape, color, soreness, or pain.
  • A bleeding mole.
  • A discolored area under a fingernail or toenail not caused by an injury.
  • A general darkening of the skin unrelated to sun exposure.

Call your doctor immediately if you have been diagnosed with melanoma and:

Recommended Related to Melanoma/Skin Cancer

Understanding Skin Cancer -- Prevention

If you are at risk for skin cancer, take the following precautions whenever possible: Avoid intense sun exposure by staying out of it from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Outside, wear a hat with a brim, long sleeves, trousers, and sunglasses that block UV radiation. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher whenever you are outside. Report suspicious skin lesions to a doctor at once, especially if you have abnormal-looking moles or a family history of melanoma. Have...

Read the Understanding Skin Cancer -- Prevention article > >

  • You have trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • You cough up or spit up blood.
  • You have blood in your vomit or bowel movement.
  • Your urine or bowel movement is black, and the blackness isn't caused by taking iron or Pepto-Bismol.

Who to see

The following health professionals can help diagnose melanoma:

If further treatment is needed, melanoma can be treated by a dermatologist, surgeon, plastic or reconstructive surgeon, or medical oncologist.

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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.
1
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Malignant melanoma
About 40-50 percent of those who live to be 65 may get it. Here’s how to spot early.
Woman checking out tan lines
There’s a dark side to that strive for beauty. See them here.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
12 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Melanoma
ARTICLE
precancerous lesions slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Do You Know Your Melanoma ABCs
VIDEO
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
ARTICLE
 
screening tests for men
SLIDESHOW
Vitamin D
SLIDESHOW
 
Is That Mole Skin Cancer
VIDEO
Brilliant sun rays
Quiz
 

WebMD Special Sections