MelanomaMelanoma Symptoms

Let's Talk About the Signs and Symptoms of Melanoma

Yes, this skin cancer can be deadly. But learn how to spot it early, and the cure rate goes way up—to 98%!

    Our Pro PanelMelanoma Signs and Symptoms

    We went to top professionals in the industry to bring the most up-to-date information about signs and symptoms of melanoma.

    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
    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
    Sancy Leachman, M.D.

    Sancy Leachman, M.D.Chair of the Department of Dermatology at Oregon Health & Science University and Director of Melanoma Research Program at Knight Cancer Institute

    Portland, OR

    Frequently Asked QuestionsMelanoma Signs and Symptoms

    I have a lot of moles. Am I more at risk for melanoma?

    Research says: The more moles you have, the higher your risk of developing the potentially deadly skin cancer. And if more than 10 of your moles are considered atypical or dysplastic nevi—non-cancerous growths that look irregular under a microscope—you’re 12 times more likely to develop melanoma. While the overwhelming majority of melanomas grow as new spots, not existing ones, these atypical moles should be watched closely for any changes.

    I have a suspicious spot. Now what?

    Don’t panic, but you need to get it checked ASAP. As we’ve mentioned, early detection is your best chance at a cure. First step: Schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. He will examine the spot and do a biopsy, if necessary. If the mole is cancerous, you’ll likely be referred to a dermatologic surgeon or an oncologist to discuss treatment options.

    I had an early melanoma removed years ago. Can it grow back in the same spot?

    Yes, but it probably won’t look your original mole, and may not even be in the same place. When melanoma makes a recurrence around the initial site, it usually appears as a lump under the skin. A recurrence is more likely to happen within the first five years, but research has shown that melanoma can make a comeback even a decade or more later.

    How often should I have a skin check?

    You should monitor your own skin for any signs and symptoms of melanoma regularly, but you want to see a dermatologist annually for a professional check. This skin doc may take images of your moles to better track any changes. If you’ve had melanoma or other types of skin cancer, schedule that check every three to six months.

    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.