A thorough physical examination looking for any of the aforementioned signs is of the utmost importance. A new device called a dermoscope using magnification and increased light can lead to more insight into any particular growth. If there’s a suspicious skin lesion, a biopsy or the removal of the growth with surgery so as to send the specimen for an analysis by a pathologist using a microscope is the definitive diagnostic tool. If in fact it is melanoma, the specimens analysis will determine the next steps in treatment. In thinner, simple melanoma, this will mean more local surgery and will eventuate in cure. In more advanced cases, an examination of the lymph nodes, known as a sentinel lymph node biopsy, will be performed. This is usually accompanied by x-rays, CT scans and PET scans, if it appears that the melanoma has spread beyond the skin to other parts of the body.