Protecting the skin throughout the year, not only in summer, is important to prevent skin cancer. The figures for this disease continue to rise and the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) estimates that before the end of 2019, about 6,205 cases of melanoma will have been diagnosed.
Contrary to other types of cancer, skin cancer is the easiest to prevent, however, a visit to the dermatologist is not yet common. This hinders the early diagnosis so necessary to prevent this disease from evolving. To this end, SEOM has issued several press releases and brochures to raise awareness of the population of how essential it is to protect and check the skin.
How to control moles?
The people who consider themselves risk groups For the development of skin cancer are those that are unduly exposed to the sun, have a family history of melanoma or have many moles (more than 50).
In these cases, the control should be thorough, although all people should check their skin regularly. The reason is that it is possible that a new mole has appeared or that one that had already been changed. To do this, you have to abide by the ABCD rule.
- Asymmetry: The mole is not round, but has an asymmetrical shape in which no two parts are equal.
- Borders: they are very poorly defined, blurred and, even, sometimes there are cuts which causes the aforementioned asymmetry.
- Colour: The mole does not have a uniform color, but several shades can be seen. Usually they are usually dark colors.
- Diameter: melanomas usually attract attention because they have a large size of 6 millimeters and continue to grow.
Although moles can continue to appear throughout our lives, monitoring any changes that may occur in them is important to prevent skin cancer. In addition to the ABCD rule it is possible for moles to sting, change color (for example, from brown to gray) or that its surface becomes flaky and small pieces begin to peel off. In these cases, you should see a dermatologist as soon as possible.
What does the dermatologist do?
The dermatologist uses a instrument called dermatoscope. This allows you to see closely if each mole meets the ABCD rule mentioned. In the event that the specialist does not find anything strange, but the mole bleeds, itches or there is a small risk that it can evolve into a melanoma will remove it.
If the dermatologist detects any abnormality in the mole, he will take a small sample of tissue to perform a biopsy. In this way, you will know if it is evil or not. In this last situation, depending on the stage in which the melanoma is found, only surgery may be required or that it may be accompanied by chemotherapy, radiotherapy or biological therapy.
Types of melanoma
There is no single type of melanoma Thus, according to SEOM, up to four different ways in which a mole can evolve into a malignant lesion can be identified. These are its characteristics:
- Melanoma of superficial extension: affects women and men between 40 and 50 years old, and usually appears on the trunk or legs. This melanoma grows very slowly, has an intense color, its edges are well defined, but irregular. Several may appear at the same time.
- Nodular melanoma: appears in women and men between 50 and 60 years old. It can be located in any part of the body, although it is more frequent in the head or trunk. This melanoma presents as an elevated lesion with variable color and which may bleed.
- Acrolentiginous melanoma: affects black or eastern people. It usually appears on the palms of the hands and feet, mucous membranes, genital and anal region, and under the nails. This melanoma is very aggressive and, at first, it is like a stain. Their colors are similar, but the edges are not defined.
- Lentigo malignant melanoma: appears in women and men between 60 and 70 years in areas exposed to the sun (face, head or neck). This melanoma manifests as a flat pigmented lesion that grows very slowly. It is not a common type of skin cancer.
Although these melanomas usually appear after age 40, they can do so much sooner if the skin is not properly protected from the sun. Further, go to the dermatologist once a year To check moles, whether new or not, is the best way to prevent skin cancer.