Risk Management & Treatment

Screening for melanoma

The following types of screening may be recommended for people at high risk for melanoma:

  • Skin self exams involve a person checking their own skin on a monthly basis to look for changes or abnormalities. Experts recommend training high risk people to perform exams. 
  • Watch moles closely for any signs of change in shape, size, or color.
  • Dermatologists may take pictures of the skin and moles, known as mole mapping, or full body photography.
  • Dermatologists examination of moles with a hand-held device known as a dermatoscope. 
  • Ophthalmologic examinations to check uveal melanoma (melanoma in the eye).


Screening for high-risk people 

People with an inherited mutation in CDKN2A or CDK4 have a very high lifetime risk for developing one or more melanomas. Screening recommendations include:

  • Perform monthly self-exams to look for skin changes. Have a friend or family member help with hard to see areas of the body.
  • Watch moles closely for any signs of change in shape, size, or color.
  • Dermatologists may take pictures of the skin and moles, known as mole mapping, or full body photography. They may also view moles with a hand-held device known as a dermatoscope. Any suspicious moles or other skin changes should be removed by a doctor so the tissue can be analyzed under a microscope.
  • Children should begin screening by age 10.

For people witn an inherited PTEN mutation, NCCN guidelines recommend an annual exam with a dermatologist. 

For people with an inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, NCCN guidelines state:

  • No specific guidelines exist for melanoma screening, but general risk management such as an annual full-body skin and eye exam and minimizing UV exposure is appropriate.
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