|CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368|
Diagnosis of Melanoma
by Debra Wood, RN
You will be asked about your symptoms, and medical and family history. A complete physical exam will be done. Your skin will be thoroughly examined. A dermatoscope is used to magnify skin lesions so they are easier to evaluate. Your doctor may suspect melanoma based on the skin exam. Many cases of melanoma are found during a physical exam or during a self-exam of your skin at home.
Diagnosis of Melanoma
Melanoma is confirmed with a skin biopsy. A sample of the suspicious tissue will be taken and examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. A local anesthetic is used before taking the sample to eliminate pain during the procedure.
Types of skin biopsies:
Lymph Node Biopsy
If melanoma has spread down into the dermis it may spread to nearby lymph nodes. A lymph node biopsy involves removing lymph tissue for examination under a microscope. If cancer cells are found, it indicates that melanoma has spread beyond the mole.
Types of lymph node biopsies:
Staging of Melanoma
If melanoma is confirmed, results from completed tests and new tests will help determine the stage of cancer. Staging is used to determine characteristics of the tumor that will help develop the prognosis and treatment plan. Factors that play a role in staging include how far the original tumor has spread, whether lymph nodes are involved, and microscopic cellular details.
Tests that may help determine melanoma stage:
Stages of Melanoma
Melanoma is staged from 0-IV:
General information about melanoma. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/skin/patient/melanoma-treatment-pdq. Updated March 10, 2017. Accessed March 16, 2017.
Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115302/Melanoma. Updated January 10, 2017. Accessed March 16, 2017.
Melanoma skin cancer changes. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/melanoma-skin-cancer-stages.html. Updated May 20, 2016. Accessed March 16, 2017.
Stages of melanoma. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:https://www.cancer.gov/types/skin/patient/melanoma-treatment-pdq#section/_96. Updated March 10, 2017. Accessed March 16, 2017.
Tests for melanoma skin cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/how-diagnosed.html. Updated May 20, 2016. Accessed March 16, 2017.
Last reviewed March 2017 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 10/18/2016
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.