The best method to detect melanoma early is a physician conducted screening taking only a few minutes, with a source of bright light and a magnifying lens.
The A, B, C, D, Es of melanoma recognition are valuable for patient education and for all clinicians:
Color variegation (ie, different colors within the same region)
Diameter greater than 6 mm
Enlargement or evolution of color change, shape, or symptoms
Melanoma screening recommendations from expert groups vary, in the absence of definitive data. Persons at higher risk for melanoma (white men over 50 years, individuals with a history of significant sunburn, or multiple moles) have a periodic full body skin examination performed by a clinician who has had appropriate training in the identification of melanoma. Individuals at highest risk (history suggesting a familial melanoma syndrome or with multiple atypical nevi) have a regular full body skin examination by a clinician with skin expertise. The optimal frequency for such examination is unknown. Individuals at high risk for skin cancer should be counseled about self-skin examination and advised to examine their skin regularly and notify their physicians if moles change.