Skin cancer prevention
About 140.000 people in Germany contract a skin cancer every year - and about 2.000 people die at it. The tendency is even increasing. Though skin cancer is, if it is recognized in time and treated in an appropriate way, curable in most cases.
Do I bare a higher risk to contract skin cancer?
To prevent the origin of skin cancer, everybody can do something on his own. A very important roll plays the UV-radiation of the sun. Especially people with a bright skin, blue or green eyes or freckles bare a higher risk and should be particularly careful with the sun.
Which further risk factors are hold for the development of skin cancer?
- Hereditary factors (a high number of pigment-spots, early cases of skin cancer within the family)
- everal sunburns, especially while childhood
- Common use of solariums
How are my chances of healing?
There are several kinds of skin cancers, but for every kind counts: the earlier they are being detected, the higher is the chance on healing. Due to this, preventive medical checkup is very important and should be necessarily appreciated.
Dermatologists are specialists for the skin organ. They know about the different kinds of skin cancers and could definitely distinguish them from other skin variations. The whole-body-checkup on skin cancer is not very complex and it is worth it.
Detected in time, skin cancer is in up to 100% of the cases completely curable.
When should I arrange a preventive medical checkup?
You should arrange a preventive medical checkup preferably before your summer holiday - because the test afterwards could be adulterated by the influence of the sun.
How often should the checkup be performed?
Generally thegerman association for dermatology advises a yearly checkup, especially if there exist risk factors or many freckles. The preventive medical checkup should be performed from the age of 18. For children mostly the control of inherent birth marks is necessary. Most statutory health insurancesn pay for the preventive medical checkup from the age of 35, every two years. Only a few pay for the charges at the age of 18. In most cases the private health insurances pay for the yearly examination already in childhood.
To reach clarification, ask your own health insurance.
What gives me even more security, to detect skin cancer in time?
Special security offers the computer based skin cancer prevention. Also in our practice we offer this particular precise form of incident light microscopy. On this way we obtain a higher diagnostic reliability and avoid useless excisions. (www.fotofinder.de, www.uv-check.de)
At this examination method, the birth marks are imported into a computer with the help of a high-definition camera and and thus an exact yearly comparison is possible. A special software, like the mole analyzer evaluate the birth marks in accord with the ABCD-rule and offer the doctor an objective analysis of the pigment spots.
What can I do on my own?
You should also examine your skin regularly with the ABCD-rule:
A = Asymmetry
B = Boundary
C = Color
D = Diameter
Also pay attention to the development of new freckles. Especially if new freckles advance fast, you should consult a dermatologist. Further warning signals could be: itching or bleeding pigment spots, constantly scurfing or non healing bright skin nodules.
Which options exist to work therapeutically with skin cancer and its pre-stages?
Pre-stages of the bright skin cancer are the so called light scabs (actinic keratodermia), which often occur at the sun terraces of the light exposed skin (like the hairless head skin of the male, the bridge, the upper lip, the margins of the ear). They appear visible and tactile as scurfing or scaling, slightly convex skin nodules. A very effective treatment of these light scabs states the photodynamic therapy. This modern therapy also works with superficial types of bright skin cancer and leads to excellent cosmetic results without the formation of scars.
What are the possibilities if this type of therapy does not come into my consideration?
Many other types of skin cancer have to be removed by surgery. The excision of benign or malignant skin mutations can be done ambulant in most cases. Thereby the procedure adjusts to the guidelines of the dermatologic society. The tissue will be extracted by the help of local anesthetics and histologically analyzed in a special institution.
What is the size of the incisions?
The incisions are made as small as possible. Special suture technologies and materials lead to barely visible scars. In some cases further examinations and treatments are required. As a copartner practice of the skin cancer centrum of the Charité , the further treatment of our patients will be done by the first-class academical medicine of the Charité.
What are the types of skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most frequent kind of cancer in Germany. The three most important types are:
- Basal cell carcinoma
1. Basal cell carcinoma
1. Basal cell carcinomas are the most frequent types of bright skin cancer. Depending on the type, they could appear as bright hyaline skin nodules, sometimes also as inconspicuous, slightly scurfing skin areas. Basal cell carcinomas grow destructive, without the development of metastases.
Due to this fact, basal cell carcinomas mark the most harmless forms of bright skin cancers and they are well curable, if they are recognized in time. The most common treatment for basal cell carcinomas is the excision and the control of the surgical margin of the tissue. Superficial basal cell carcinomas could also be treated by the photodynamic Therapy
2. Spinalioma (squamous epithelium carcinoma, prickle cell carcinoma)
Spinaliomas occur preferably at the light exposed areas of the skin (like the hairless skin of the male). They could also appear quite inconspicuous, as a bright nodule or a frequently bleeding, painless lesion.The forerunners of the spinaliomas are the actinic keratodermias (light scabs). In opposite to the basal cell carcinomas, the spinaliomas could spread into the body and therefore they should be excised as fast as possible with a control of the surgical margin.
The malignant melanoma (black skin cancer) is the most vicious skin cancer and the worldwide incidence is increasing. It develops from degenerated pigment cells and for this reason it could evolve from the pigment cells of the skin as also from pigment cells of birth marks or liver spots. The risk to contract a malignant melanoma depends on the one hand on the predisposition of a human (bright skin, familial affinity to many birth marks) and on the other hand on factors like many sunburns during childhood, and frequent solar irradiation. Warning notices are size and color changes of freckles, but also bleeding, itching or converting pigment spots should prompt yourself to visit a dermatologist. Especially for the melanoma, an early identification and excision is very important. Treated in time, the melanoma is curable in 90 percent of the cases.