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Malignant melanoma – When to be suspicious?

When to be suspicious?

You should see a dermatologist is you notice any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • A new mole appearing on your skin after the onset of puberty which is changing in shape, colour or size
  • A longstanding mole which is changing in shape, colour and size
  • Any mole that has three or more colours in it
  • A mole that has lost its symmetry
  • A mole that is itching or bleeding
  • Any new persistent lesion that appears to be growing, whether it is pigmented or of vascular appearance, or if you are not really sure what it is
  • A new pigmented line in a nail, because melanoma can also occur underneath the nail
  • Any lesion occurring underneath the nail

Diagnostic accuracy is based on an assessment by the dermatologist who will advise on the biopsy for clinical-pathological correlation and then, in turn, advise on the different treatment options. It is important that only a specialist dermatologist carries out diagnostic surgery for suspicious lesions that may be a melanoma.

How does the dermatologist know I have got a melanoma on my skin?

All patients presenting with a melanoma see the dermatologist, Dr Jennifer Crawley, at Clinica London. This is whether it is a melanoma, or a suspicious melanocytic lesion, or an atypical melanocytic lesion, or if they have a large number of moles and need to have a complete skin assessment, together with an assessment of the risk factors.
Dr Crawley will use the dermascope to help screen the pigmented lesions, as that increases her diagnostic accuracy. She will also photograph the lesion and arrange an urgent biopsy should one be needed.

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