What are the symptoms of melanoma?
Melanoma signs and symptoms can vary, so if you have any, especially those that last longer than two weeks, it’s important to get screened. Having signs or symptoms does not necessarily mean you have melanoma, but if you are diagnosed with the disease and it is detected early, it is often highly treatable.
One of the most common signs of melanoma is a change in the way a mole or pigmented area looks. The ABCDE rule is a common tool physicians and patients can use to assess physical changes to a mole or lesion’s symmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving appearance. If you notice any change in the appearance of a mole, check with your primary care doctor or dermatologist.
Other melanoma signs and symptoms include:
- A mole that oozes, bleeds or is ulcerated (a hole forms in the skin)
- A change in pigmented skin
- Growth of new moles that grow near an existing mole
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- A bump that’s raised, smooth, shiny and/or pearly
- A mark on the skin that’s firm (similar to a scar) and is white, yellow or waxy-looking
- A patch of skin that’s scaly, bleeding or crusty
It’s important to know your skin, and if you notice any unusual changes, talk to your doctor. Our internationally recognized experts recommend performing monthly skin self-checks.
How is melanoma diagnosed?
At the Multidisciplinary Skin Cancer Clinic at Miami Cancer Institute, our internationally recognized skin cancer specialists work together across many medical disciplines to provide you with the most advanced screenings and comprehensive diagnostics available today – all under one roof and all conveniently located in South Florida.
Our multidisciplinary team’s goal is to diagnose and treat skin cancer lesions and evolving melanomas in the earliest stages when they can be treated (and often cured) in a comfortable, state-of-the-art outpatient setting.
The Skin Cancer Clinic also offers convenient same-day appointments with all members of the multidisciplinary team to design and deliver a personalized, comprehensive care plan for each patient.
When you’re screened for skin cancer at Miami Cancer Institute, our experts use a variety of personalized tests depending on what is right for you. This can include:
- Biopsy to examine tumor tissues to determine the specific kind of cancer present
- Reflectance Confocal Microscopy (RCM) – a non-invasive imaging technique performed in the Skin Clinic, that uses a low-power laser, without radiation or harm to the skin, to determine whether a skin lesion needs to be biopsied. This advanced technology is especially helpful in sparing cosmetically sensitive areas, such as the face, from unnecessary biopsies. It also aids in diagnosing skin tumors in hard-to-reach areas.
- Lymph node biopsy to determine whether cancer has spread beyond the primary tumor into the lymphatic system
- Miami Cancer Institute houses one of only a few Vectra 3D Whole Body Photo-Imaging scanners in the world. The Vectra creates a 360-degree, three-dimensional full-body photograph in seconds, without radiation, using 92 cameras. This image allows us to map and evaluate your skin, determining the number of moles, their location on the body, their color and size. This information can be used to monitor skin changes that may develop into skin cancer over time, enabling swift treatment to prevent cancer from worsening or spreading.
Patient Support Services
Taking care of the whole patient is an important component of providing personalized cancer care. Integrated into the fabric of the Miami Cancer Institute, the Cancer Patient Support Center addresses the psychological, physical, social and spiritual needs of our patients during cancer treatment and beyond.