Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School


When to Call A Doctor

Do not ignore warning signs. Have suspicious moles checked by a dermatologist. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, but early diagnosis could save your life. If a mole appears abnormal, your doctor will do a biopsy by taking some of the mole tissue so it can be examined in a laboratory. Also, having a doctor check your moles once is not enough. Normal-looking moles can become cancerous later. Moles must be examined from time to time, especially if you notice any changes. If you have dysplastic nevi or if there is a history of melanoma in your family, you should have a physician check all of your moles regularly. Your physician will recommend how often you should have them checked.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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