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Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

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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 -- the Basics

Skin cancers involve abnormal cell changes in the outer layer of skin. It is by far the most common cancer in the world, accounting for 75% of all cancer diagnoses. Most cases are cured, but the disease is a major health concern because it affects so many people. The incidence of skin cancer is rising, even though most cases could be prevented by limiting the skin's exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Skin cancer is about three times more common in men than in women, and the risk...

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  • 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.

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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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