Let's Talk About Melanoma

Is something going on with your skin? We've got the doctor-vetted details to help you determine if you could have this serious skin cancer. (Spoiler alert: Catch it early, and it's almost always treatable.)

    Our Pro PanelMelanoma

    We tapped into some to the top experts on melanoma to bring you the most up-to-date info on this skin cancer.

    Steven Q. Wang, M.D.

    Steven Q. Wang, M.D.Mohs Surgeon and Director of Dermatological Surgery and Dermatology

    Memorial Sloan Kettering
    Basking Ridge, NJ
    Darrell Rigel, M.D.

    Darrell Rigel, M.D.Clinical Professor of Dermatology

    NYU Langone Medical Center
    New York, NY
    Ellen Marmur, M.D.

    Ellen Marmur, M.D.Associate Clinical Professor in the Departments of Dermatology and Genomics and Genetic Science

    The Mount Sinai Medical School
    New York, NY

    Frequently Asked QuestionsMelanoma

    What does melanoma look like?

    One of these things is not like the others. Typically, a melanoma may be darker, more oddly shaped, larger, or scalier than your surrounding moles. But it can also be red, pink, clear, or skin-colored. Your doctors want you to know the ABCDEs of moles: asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving.

    Does melanoma itch?

    It can. Doctors want you to pay close attention to any changes in your existing moles, including itching. So, if you’re suddenly scratching a spot, it’s time to make an appointment with your dermatologist.

    I have dark skin. Does that mean I’m not at risk for melanoma?

    This is a common myth. While a fair-skinned person is 20 times more likely to get melanoma than someone with dark skin, it’s not impossible. And studies show that when melanomas do occur in Latino and African American skin, they tend to be detected at later stages, which can mean less chance of survival. You might remember that singer Bob Marley died from melanoma under his toenail.

    What is the difference between seborrheic keratosis and melanoma?

    Seborrheic keratosis is a benign skin growth that tends to show up with age. The growth can be black or brown, so as you might imagine, it’s often confused with melanoma. But unlike the deadly skin cancer, a seborrheic keratosis has a uniform, round or oval shape, can be light tan in color, and usually remains the same size. If you have a new spot that fits this bill, don’t panic. But any new growth should always be examined by a physician.

    Krista Bennett DeMaio

    Krista Bennett DeMaio


    Krista Bennett DeMaio is a health and beauty writer living in Huntington, NY with her husband and three daughters.