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When should I call my doctor if I have melanoma skin cancer?

If you have melanoma skin cancer, or if you think you might, you should call your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms -- known as the ABCDEs of melanoma -- in a mole, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Assymetry - one half of the mole is unlike the other.
  • Border - the mole has an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border. (Healthy moles tend to be round.)
  • Color - the mole has various shades of tan, brown, black and even red, white or blue.
  • Diameter - the mole has a diameter bigger than a quarter-inch (6mm) wide, or bigger than the average pencil eraser.
  • Evolving - the mole has changed size or shape or color, or looks different from any other moles.
You should also call your doctor if you notice new moles that you haven't seen before, or if any mole feels itchy or painful, looks swollen or inflamed, or bleeds. When caught early (before it has spread beyond the skin) melanoma is nearly 100 percent curable. In later stages, it can be deadly.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.