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Screening for Melanoma

  • Michael Jubinville, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Screening for Melanoma

Screening is done to find a health problem early and treat it. Tests are given to people who do not have symptoms but who may be at high risk for the health problem.

Screening Guidelines

There are no screening guidelines for melanoma. But, you should check your skin monthly. Check all areas for new moles, changes to moles you have, or other unexplained skin changes.

Screening Tests

Skin self-exam—A visual check of your skin from head to toe. To do this:

  • Use a full-length or hand-held mirror to check hard to see places such as between the buttocks or around the genitals.
  • Use a well-lit room.
  • Turn from front to back and left to right.
  • Note the size, shape, color, and texture of all skin blemishes and moles.
  • Check your fingernails, palms, and forearms.
  • Check your feet, toenails, soles, and between the toes.
  • Look over your scalp by separating the hair with a comb or a blow dryer.

Call your doctor right away when you notice changes in your skin.

Skin exam by your doctor—Some people have a higher risk of melanoma (and other skin cancers). A dermatologist will check your skin once a year. An eye doctor will look for signs of melanoma in the back of your eyes during routine exams.


  • Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115302/Melanoma. Updated March 26, 2019. Accessed May 7, 2019.
  • Skin exams. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/skin-cancer/prevention-and-early-detection/skin-exams.html. Updated January 5, 2018. Accessed May 7, 2019.


  • Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

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.