Melanoma

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Finding melanoma early

The best ways to find melanoma early are to recognize symptoms and get regular health checkups. When melanoma is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better.

Report symptoms to your doctor

The sooner you report symptoms, the sooner your doctor can try to find out what is causing them. See your doctor if you have a:

  • new mark or spot on your skin
  • mole or spot that is changing in size, shape, colour or height (elevation, or how much it is raised above the skin)
  • mole or spot that looks different from all of the other spots on your skin
  • mole or spot that is asymmetric (one side of the spot does not match the other)
  • mole or spot that doesn’t have a well-defined border (the edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred)

Know what puts you at high risk

Some people have a higher than average risk of developing melanoma. You may be at a higher risk if you:

  • have a personal history of melanoma
  • have a strong family history of melanoma (one or more first-degree relatives with the disease)
  • have familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome (FAMMM)
  • have a CDKN2A gene mutation
  • are receiving immunosuppressive therapy after an organ transplant

Talk to your doctor about your risk. If you are at higher than average risk, you may need a personal plan for testing. This may include getting skin exams by a healthcare professional on a regular basis.

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