Dermatologists recommend yearly skin checks and cataloging your moles. If you notice any change of appearance in a mole, contact your dermatologist immediately so that prompt treatment can be initiated if necessary. Usually this will involve a skin biopsy to start. A pathologist will evaluate the skin tissue under the microscope and render a diagnosis. If a melanoma is diagnosed, your dermatologist will advise you about further treatments and treatment options.
Questions For Your Doctor
Once a patient has been diagnosed with melanoma here are some of the questions he or she ought to ask:
- Is the melanoma confined to the top layer of the skin (in situ) or is it invasive? How deep is the melanoma?
- What kind of treatment can be expected after surgery?
- What kind of long-term follow-up will be needed?
- What is the risk of developing another melanoma?
- What can be done to lower this risk?
- What should one be looking for on a self-exam?