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What Tests Help My Doctor Find Melanoma?

To find out whether or not you have melanoma, your doctor will do a skin exam. First, your doctor checks all of your skin for any spots that look like they might be cancer. Then he or she checks the spots’ size, shape, color, and texture. Your doctor also takes a history, asking you questions such as these:

  • Have you or has anyone in your family had melanoma?

  • How much time have you spent in the sun?

  • When did you first see the spot?

  • Did it change in size or shape?

  • Have you ever had an organ transplant?

If the area looks like it might be melanoma, your doctor might also check your lymph nodes. Based on the results of your history and exam, your doctor decides whether to do a biopsy to check for cancer cells.