Malignant Melanoma at 20x Magnification

Due to its tendency to invade other tissues of the body, melanoma needs to be detected as early as possible in order for patients to have the best possible prognosis. Treatment is much less successful if the cancer is well advanced or has already metastasized to other areas. Thus, it is widely recommended that individuals, especially those with light skin, hair, and eyes or who have a relative diagnosed with melanoma, regularly examine their skin for new growths or changes to preexisting moles. Any moles that are found that have notably altered or are asymmetrical, have irregular borders or coloration, or are more than one-quarter inch in diameter should be of special concern. Moles that are suspicious should be brought to the attention of a medical professional, who can perform a biopsy if needed to make a definite diagnosis. If the sample reveals melanoma cells under the microscope then further testing is usually carried out to determine the extent of the cancer growth before a specific treatment plan is developed.

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