Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that may appear as a dark, flat mole on the body. It may have an irregular border, although it may appear in other shapes as well.
When to Seek Treatment
If you notice a new growth, a change to an existing growth, a bleeding mole, darkening of the skin not caused by the sun or have a sore that does not heal, see a licensed physician right away, as these may be signs of skin cancer. Do not waste time waiting for symptoms to go away. See a doctor right away if you notice any of these symptoms. Melanoma that is diagnosed early usually has a better chance of successful treatment. Melanoma that is diagnosed in stage IV may not respond as well to treatment.
Before the Appointment
Write down a list of questions for the physician. You probably have a lot of questions about melanoma and skin cancer and you should take the time to make a list of all of these so that you do not forget them during your appointment. A lot of people make lists of questions before going to the doctor, so you should not feel embarrassed at doing so. Dermatologists may treat skin cancer, although oncologists and other physicians may provide diagnosis and treatment as well.
Questions from the Doctor
The doctor will probably ask you tons of questions as well. Provide full disclose to your doctor and try to remember your family's medical history, especially as it relates to cancer. If you do not know your family's medical history, ask a family member who may have the information. The physician will probably ask you when you noticed a new growth or change to an existing growth, or whether you have other symptoms or signs that may indicate melanoma. If the doctor suspects melanoma, he or she will probably order a biopsy so that a diagnosis may be made. If melanoma is diagnosed, a qualified physician (usually a dermatologist, oncologist, plastic surgeon or general surgeon) will perform the necessary treatment. Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer and patients who suspect they have the disease or who notice certain signs of symptoms should be proactive in seeking medical consultation. Take advantage of your appointment with a physician by asking plenty of questions and thoroughly discussing your condition.