Save Your Life - Catch Melanoma Early

When we think of melanoma prevention, we often think of the usual: using sunscreen, covering up, not burning, avoiding tanning beds, etc. But did you know that finding a suspicious mole or spot and having it checked out by a professional is considered one of the most important steps to preventing melanoma? Detecting melanoma when it's early enough to treat could mean the difference between life and a life-threatening illness.

If you see something, don't be afraid to say something!

Too often we notice a suspicious mole on ourselves or someone else, yet we don't make it a priority to get it checked out. As many patients and survivors have recounted, their melanoma was found by a friend or a partner who happened to notice something different - and urged them to see a dermatologist. It helps to know the signs and markers of melanoma, but it's not required - if any mole is changing, you should have it checked out.

Catching melanoma in its earliest stages is one of the most important factors in improving the prognosis (or outcome) of a melanoma diagnosis. 

Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips:

  • Check your skin thoroughly - even the places that never see the sun.
  • Check your scalp, your nails, the bottoms of your feet - places that aren't obvious, where moles can be missed or overlooked.
  • Take a look at our Self-Screening Guide for a 'how-to' on self-skin examinations!
  • Pay attention to your skin and know what is normal for YOU. Bring any mole or lesion that is new or changing to the attention of your dermatologist right away.
  • Choose a dermatologist who has experience with or specializes in melanoma. 
  • Visit an optometrist or an ophthalmologist regularly for routine eye exams.

Taking these steps does make a difference - research has shown that individuals are the ones most likely to spot a melanoma first.

Get involved and help us save lives!

Want to get involved and help us spread the word about early detection, melanoma prevention and sun safety? Check out our educational materials, including the "Who is the most likely to Spot Your Melanoma" booklet, and pass them out in your school, doctor's office or at a health fair! You can now order all of our educational materials using our Educational Materials Order Form.