Around 50% of melanomas are first detected by the patient after noticing a new spot or change in an existing spot. If you notice a change such as a new spot or change to an existing spot you should see your GP. Melanomas may also be detected by your doctor in the course of a routine skin examination or a regular health check-up.
Initial diagnosis of melanoma
Physical examination Every melanoma diagnosis starts with a physical examination of the suspicious spot or mole, as well as other moles on your body. You will also be asked if you or your family have a history of melanoma.
Dermoscopy If your GP or dermatologist has access to a dermoscope, they may refine their diagnosis further before deciding to proceed to a biopsy. More about dermoscopy
Confocal imaging This is a new diagnostic tool for melanoma and other skin cancers. This non-invasive tool captures a three dimensional image of the lesion. More about confocal imaging
Total body photography A series of high resolution digital photographs that are taken from head to toe to help you track changes over time. More about total body photography
Digital monitoring This has been shown to allow early detection of clinically featureless melanoma. More about digital monitoring
Biopsy A biopsy is a quick and simple procedure where part or all of the spot is removed and sent to a laboratory. The biopsy may be performed by your GP or you can be referred to a dermatologist or melanoma specialist. More about biopsy
Pathology Biopsy is sent to pathology for analysis. The next step depends on pathology results.