How is melanoma diagnosed?

A diagnosis of melanoma begins with an examination of your skin

Our skin check leaflet can help you monitor your moles. Speak to your GP immediately if you notice any changes.

  • Initially your GP or a specialist dermatologist may take digital photos of your mole or lesion. They may use a dermatoscope, a type of magnifying tool, to enable them to view deeper layers of your skin
  • If a skin lesion or mole appears suspicious, it may be removed, or alternatively a biopsy taken for further evaluation. This is usually done with a local anaesthetic, so you shouldn’t feel any pain
  • If melanoma is confirmed, you may require further tests and treatment

For cutaneous melanoma, view our Melanoma Stages and Treatment – Patient Guide for supportive information during you melanoma journey, including relevant information for when you are waiting to be diagnosed, to help you know what to expect.

Dermatologist examines skin cancer

New approaches to diagnosis


Teledermatology allows specialist dermatologists to quickly examine the photographic images and then only invite you to be seen face-to-face if there are any concerns. You may be offered this service. Our teledermatology page outlines what is involved.
Read more here

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Smartphone apps to aid melanoma diagnosis

There are many smartphone apps currently available that use AI and are intended to help people to identify suspicious moles and help them to decide when to self-refer to a GP. To find out more about the expert opinion on these
Read our current advice