SKIN CANCER PREVENTION
Every year in Germany, around 120,000 people develop skin cancer, 18,000 cases of which are of malign melanoma, also called black skin cancer. More than 2,000 people die from the effects of this disease – often at a young age. And this is despite the fact that skin cancer is 100% curable when diagnosed early on. Prevention thus plays a particularly important role with this disorder.
A melanoma arises from the skin’s pigment-forming cells or the mucous membrane. A strong subjection to UV rays, such as e.g. from recurrent and excessive exposure to sun or solaria when young, is regarded as the cause of most cases. Furthermore, a genetic predisposition can lead to the developing of skin cancer.
The following factors can substantially increase the risk of black skin cancer:
- Numerous pigmentation marks – the more birthmarks, the higher the risk of the disease.
- The occurrence of one or more melanomas within the family.
- Occurrence of a melanoma in one’s own medical history.
- Congenital pigment marks – especially those with a diameter of more than one centimetre.
- Very major sunburn as a child or adolescent.
As with all preventive examinations, skin cancer checkups should also be carried out at regular intervals. The examination frequency depends on skin type, age, number and type of birthmarks and already existing sun damage – your own personal risk profile. Following your first examination, we can determine the frequency of the regular checkups.
For the skin cancer checkup, we use technical innovations such as an incident light microscope and video-based photo documentation. We examine the whole skin and assess noticeable changes. Usually, precise diagnoses can already be made with an incident light microscope. Using the latest computer technology, noticeable birthmarks are scanned and malignancy criteria are calculated. In most cases, this means that the operative removal of birthmarks is not necessary. In the case of abnormal findings, an exact catalogue of birthmarks is produced by video camera. This comprises overview recordings which are digitally stored. Birthmarks that need to be checked are in addition microscopically recorded and measured. The digital storage of your complexion makes it possible to carry out an objective and detailed comparison of previous and current skin findings at the regular checkups, down to a microscopic scale.