With the rate of melanoma increasing 1,000% in the past 50 years, the early detection of the disease is becoming more important. Data from 2,239 persons seen at the Manhattan Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection Screening Program were analyzed to determine if a complete cutaneous examination would significantly increase the chance of detecting melanoma. Thirteen of the fourteen melanomas detected were on anatomic sites normally covered by clothing. Patients having complete skin examinations were 6.4 times more likely to have a melanoma detected than those having partial examinations (p = 0.025). These findings reinforce the importance of complete skin examination for the early detection of malignant melanoma.