Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. Allowed to grow, melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body. This can be deadly. To diagnose melanoma, a dermatologist begins by looking at the patient’s skin. A dermatologist will carefully examine moles and other suspicious spots. To get a better look, a dermatologist may use a device called a dermoscope. The device shines light on the skin. It magnifies the skin. This helps the dermatologist to see pigment and structures in the skin. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that arises when the pigment-producing cells mutate and become cancerous.
The dermatologist also may feel the patient’s lymph nodes. Many people call these lymph glands. When treating melanoma, doctors want to remove all of the cancer. When the cancer has not spread, it is often possible for a dermatologist to remove the melanoma during an office visit.