female doctor looking at mole

Melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer, is often difficult to diagnose and can spread — or metastasize — if it is not detected and removed quickly.

When found early, however, melanoma can often be treated with a simple surgery. Routine self-examinations are an important part of identifying melanoma in its earliest, and most treatable, stages.

In order to determine if a mole may be melanoma, follow the ABCDE method of self-screening:

 

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If you have a mole that fits one or more of these criteria, you should see a dermatologist as soon as possible so he or she can determine if a biopsy is necessary. You can also ask your primary care doctor to check your skin for signs of skin cancer at your annual physical. Remember: early detection is key!