If a mole or pigmented area of the skin changes or looks abnormal, a doctor will perform a more detailed evaluation of the lesion, as well as a thorough skin exam to look for other abnormalities.
The only way to diagnose melanoma is to remove tissue and check it for cancer cells.
The biopsy will remove much of the abnormal mole or lesion as possible.
Usually, this procedure takes only a few minutes and can be done in a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital.
The tissue sample is then sent to a lab and a pathologist or dermatopathologist will look at the tissue under a microscope to check for melanoma.
Reference: National Cancer Institute
Last updated March 27, 2013.
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