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Cancer Medicine :: Familial Malignant Melanoma

Familial Malignant Melanoma

What are the screening options for familial melanoma?

Anyone with a parent, sibling, or child who has had invasive melanoma should be carefully monitored. Thorough skin screening should be performed every three to six months by a dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin problems), a nurse specializing in dermatology, or another specially trained health care provider to monitor any pigmented lesions (mole or spot). It is important to watch moles closely for any signs of change in shape, size, or color. Taking pictures of moles (called mole mapping) may be helpful to show changes over time. Any suspicious moles or other skin changes should be removed by a doctor.

In families known or strongly suspected to have familial melanoma, children should begin screening by age 10. Family members should also perform regular self-examinations to look for skin changes. Due to the high risk of multiple melanomas, people with familial melanoma should avoid sun exposure and protect their skin when outside.

Screening recommendations may change over time as new technologies are developed, and more is learned about familial melanoma. It is important to talk with your doctor about appropriate screening tests.

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