Skin cancer - ...and counting!
With 140 000 new cases per year skin cancers are the most common cancers in Germany. For this reason, legally insured persons over the age of 35 are entitled to a so-called "skin cancer screening" , an early detection screening. A screening is intended to identify pre-stages, early stages and risk factors of the disease and aims at recognizing changing moles in time. Because detected early enough, skin cancer is completely curable in almost 100 percent of the cases!
What does the skin cancer screening encompass?
During skin cancer screening the entire skin, including the scalp and the visible mucous membranes are examined. Dermatologists can diagnose and treat the various forms of skin cancer and its pre-stages outpatient and with high reliability thanks to years of training and experience.
Medical imaging can prevent surgery in some cases
Next to the medical inspection, which cannot be replaced by any device, the Laser Medicine Centre Rhine- Ruhr is equipped with a FotoFinder dermoscope device (see the graph below). This tool allows for digital reflected light microscopy, video documentation and fluorescence diagnosis. This way the mole including its deeper layers can be illustrated in only one session. Hence, surgical removal can be avoided in case of harmless moles . If however there is the slightest suspicion of malignancy, the mole is always being surgically removed and examined histologically. A particular form of treatment for certain forms of skin cancer, especially for large- area infestations, is the photodynamic therapy (PDT). Laser therapy is not suitable for the removal of moles, because due to the lasers approach of removal in layers, a histological examination of the skin would no longer be possible.
Skin Health: In for a penny, in for a pound ...
In addition to a regular skin cancer screening at a dermatologist, you can do something yourself and check your moles from head to toe once a month. You can do this with the help of the following criteria ,based on the ABCDE rule (see the graph below).
These criteria are indicative of a possible skin cancer risk:
A for asymmetry. the mole has an asymmetrical shape?
B for border irregularity. Is the mole rough, jagged, uneven, or seems to leak on the edges?
C for Colour . Is the mole unevenly dyed, hence, in some places brighter or darker?
D for diameter. Does the mole have a diameter of more than 2 mm?
E for elevation. Is the mole thicker than the surrounding skin; is it raised above the surface?
If you notice any such changes in one or more moles, you should do a skin cancer screening for your health´s sake.