October 4, 2010 Doctor Lawrence Jaeger and the physicians at Advanced Dermatology Associates in New York have decades of experience treating patients with many types of skin disorders. One of the more serious and potentially life-threatening conditions is Melanoma. Early detection of Melanomas is extremely important for successful treatment and eradication. Lawrence Jaeger has successfully treated thousands of patients suffering from all types of melanomas and is a leading Dermatologist in New York City treating this condition. Too often we notice a suspicious mole on ourselves or someone else, yet we don’t make it a priority to get it checked out. As many patients and survivors have recounted, their melanoma was found by a friend or a partner who happened to notice something different – and urged them to see a dermatologist. It helps to know the symptoms of melanoma, but it’s not required – if any mole is changing, you should have it checked out. Catching melanoma in its earliest stages is one of the most important factors in improving the prognosis (or outcome) of a melanoma diagnosis. Symptoms of melanoma – What should I look for? Doctor Lawrence Jaeger maintains that symptoms of melanoma and other skin cancers vary from person to person, but if you suspect that a spot on your skin fits the following descriptions, talk to your doctor right away. Note that not all skin cancers and melanomas fall into these categories, so just use this list as a guideline: A change on the skin – this could be a new spot, or a change in color, shape or size of a current spot A spot, sore or mole that doesn’t heal A spot, sore or mole that becomes painful or tender A mole that becomes itchy or begins to bleed A spot, sore, mole or lump that looks shiny, waxy, smooth or pale A firm red lump that bleeds or appears ulcerated or crusty A flat, red spot that is rough, dry or scaly A black/dark spot or streak under a fingernail or toenail (that doesn’t come from previous trauma to the nail) Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips: Check your skin thoroughly – even the places that never see the sun. Check your scalp, your nails, the bottoms of your feet – places that aren’t obvious, where moles can be missed or overlooked. Take a look at our Self-Screening Guide for a ‘how-to’ on self-skin examinations! Pay attention to your skin and know what is normal for YOU. Bring any mole or lesion that is new or changing to the attention of your dermatologist right away. Choose a dermatologist who has experience with or specializes in melanoma. Visit an optometrist or an ophthalmologist regularly for routine eye exams. Taking these steps does make a difference – research has shown that individuals are the ones most likely to spot a melanoma first.