Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Melanoma Prevention
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a kind of skin cancer. It is sometimes called malignant melanoma. Melanoma is becoming more common every year. This is a very serious kind of skin cancer that can cause death. If this cancer is caught early, when it is very small, it can be cured. A melanoma can grow in a mole that you have had for years. Or it can grow in a spot that never had a mole.
What does melanoma look like?
Melanomas can have many different looks and can occur any place on the body. It is important to see your doctor if you get a new mole or if you have a mole that is changing in the way it looks. A melanoma is usually irregular in shape, with blurry edges. One melanoma may have many different colors in it, like black, brown or tan. A melanoma can be flat or raised. Your doctor may not be able to tell if a mole is a melanoma just by looking at it. Your doctor may have to do a biopsy to find out for sure if a mole is a melanoma. To do a biopsy, your doctor cuts out the mole and sends it to a lab to be looked at under a microscope.
How can I keep from getting melanoma?
The most important way to prevent melanoma is to limit your sun exposure. Here are some ways to do this: