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Moles and skin cancer. When should we go to the doctor?

Moles and skin cancer. When should we go to the doctor?


When one in three cases of cancer is skin cancer, doctors warn that it is essential to know the signs that prevent a precancerous or cancerous lesion at onset, especially since there are, in most cases, certain indications that should be send us for a visit to the dermatologist: a mole that shows changes, a bleeding spot or a new sign on the skin.

Although not all skin cancers are fatal, melanoma, the most dangerous and the third most common type, is extremely risky, especially if it has not been discovered early.

Good information about the first manifestations of these conditions, the annual visit to the dermatologist and the constant monitoring of the moles and other signs can help in the detection and early treatment of serious diseases, say the specialists.

The term mole has been adopted to express growths in the skin, mostly brownish-black, but also skin color. Whether they are inherited from birth or acquired throughout life, some of them can turn into cancer, most commonly the feared melanoma, an aggressive form that can spread to the blood and other organs if not treated early.

Although it is a type of cancer with a high death rate, it is at the same time the easiest to treat when found in the early stages.

The disease starts, most often, from a mole, and then when identified early, in stage I, it can be treated immediately, by its simple excision. But if it remains undetected or if the patient does not come to a specialist check in time, this type of cancer can spread to other areas of the body, becoming dangerous.

"A dermatological check is recommended annually, so that atypical moles are identified and treated so that they do not turn into melanoma. The same principle applies also to melanoma, where we have a much better prognosis if treated early. who have applied sun protection carefully all summer are not exempt from the risk of developing a skin condition, so it is important to have a regular examination of the body in search of suspicious lesions. Moreover, besides the annual visit to the dermatologist, who can proposes microscopic analysis and digital tracking of moles (molemapping), each individual must know their body very well and examine it periodically to identify possible changes. These "self-examinations" are essential in early detection of potential cancers. skin, when they can be healed, " says Dr. Laurentiu Vladau, Specialist in Dermatology and Venerology at Hebra Dermatology Clinic.

When the moles become a cause for concern

Mumps in large numbers in people with light skin, who are accustomed to sun exposure and have experienced sunburn, even many years before, is a risk factor.

Also, for people who have already had melanoma or who have a relative diagnosed with melanoma, it is imperative to monitor the evolution of the moles on the body.

"You should also not forget the moles located in parts of the body that are difficult to examine at home, such as the soles, genital and perineal region, the scalp, even the back. Changes of the moles in these areas are often identified very late, which favors the installation of the disease and makes the healing process much more difficult. This is an additional reason to carry out a digital mapping of the moles, "he added. Dr. Laurentiu Vladau.

The specialist further lists other alarming signals that should send us to the dermatologist:

- Moles that bleed frequently and do not heal easily;

- Moles that have an irregular edge and which are asymmetrical. Tip: to see if a mole is asymmetrical use an opaque ruler and cover half of the mole, and then compare it with the other half. If there are differences, it means that the mole is asymmetrical;

- Moles that change their color. Tip: attention also to the moles that change their color to red, gray, white, blue, not only to those that become darker in color;

- Moles that grow in a short period of time. Tip: in children the moles may increase in diameter, but in adults an increase may represent atypical and even malignant activity;

- Moles that change their structure. Tip: great attention also to the flat moles, not only to those that become palpable;

- The new moles appeared in adults, especially if they have a shape, color, structure different from the others.

A higher risk of developing skin cancer is generally present in the Caucasian population as well as the color population, due to the lower protective pigmentation of the skin. People with naturally dark hair and skin can tolerate relatively higher levels of sun exposure without getting burns or increasing their risk of skin cancer.

At the opposite end, people with pale skin, who have freckles, who have blond hair or light eyes are part of the group at high risk of developing skin diseases.

At the same time, people who have dark hair and eyes that do not normally burn after sun exposure have an average risk of developing skin cancer.

"However, overexposure to intense sun can damage all skin types, regardless of color - and the risk of heat damage and eye damage is the same for everyone!" Dr. Laurentiu Vladau, Specialist in Dermatology and Venerology at Hebra Dermatology Clinic.

Tags Skin cancer