Do you have an odd-looking mole on your body that you fear is melanoma? If so, it will help to know what you should do to stay safe and prevent it from getting worse.
Perform A Self Evaluation
You'll want to start by performing a self-evaluation. This involves looking at the mole and considering the five criteria that identify melanoma. Be concerned if the mole looks asymmetrical, has a border that is not clearly defined, is an odd color from the rest of your moles, is larger in diameter than other moles, and is growing. If you see multiple signs that what you are looking at is melanoma, you'll need professional help to deal with it.
Visit A Dermatologist
Your next step should be to go to a local dermatologist and have a skin cancer screening. They'll look at that particular mole that concerns you, as well as do a full body screening for skin cancer. If there are any moles that look suspicious to the doctor, they will perform a biopsy to determine if it is skin cancer. This involves shaving a small part of the mole off your skin so that it can be tested in a lab.
Wait For The Results
It will take several days until you get the results back from your dermatologist. They will then inform you if the mole is benign or if it is skin cancer. Having a benign mole may not mean that you are in the clear, since if you catch a cancerous lesion early enough it may have the potential to turn into cancer later. Your doctor will recommend if you should have the mole surgically removed.
Get The Mole Removed
The process of removing the mole is going to be different from the biopsy. The goal of the doctor is to not just remove the mole itself, but some of the healthy skin around it. The healthy skin is then tested to ensure that there are no traces of the mole, meaning that it has been completely removed from your skin.
You'll receive stitches to cover the site of the incision, and then need to return to the doctor to have those stitches removed in a few weeks. You'll work with your doctor for any pain management around the surgical site, as well as help with dressing the wound and caring for it during the recovery period. The goal is to limit any scarring on your skin in the end. For more information, contact a company like Desert Dermatology & Skin Cancer Specialists.