After the summer break it is very important to check the health of the skin to prevent the onset of skin melanoma, a very dangerous skin cancer.

Data

In Italy, according to the latest edition of the volume "The numbers of cancer in Italy", Created by the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (Aiom), the Italian Cancer Registries Association (Airtum) and the Italian Society of Pathological Anatomy (Siapec), cases of melanoma are on the rise among men and women. The cause of the growth "is certainly to be attributed to a greater number of diagnoses linked to greater attention to the disease and the availability of better diagnostic tools", but also to incorrect habits, such as prolonged and excessive exposure to sunlight and the use of UV tanning lamps. 

It is therefore essential to raise public awareness of the awareness of skin cancers with adequate prevention.

How to recognize cutaneous melanoma early?

The first signal is the change in the appearance of a mole also called nevus or the appearance of a new one. “The change of a mole or the appearance of a new mole after the age of 25 is an alarm bell that should not be underestimated. It is not easy to define exactly what kind of appearance a malignant mole may have but surely a modification of a pre-existing lesion or a recently appeared mole must create a suspicion. Certainly more at risk are the dishes and those already present at birth ". He said dr. Stefano Veglio, specialist in Dermatology at Aosta and Dubai.

Why can the mole turn into melanoma?

Who are the most at risk?

What are the screening tests and how often should they be performed?

Dr. Stefano Veglio.

Dr. Stefano Veglio

What are moles? 

Moles are made up of an aggregation of details melanocytes, cells that produce melanin. They are positioned between the two most superficial layers of the skin, epidermis and dermis, which are fundamental respectively to protect and give structure to the precious covering. These cells are used to produce the pigment that protects us from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. The reason why in the snows they aggregate to form the spots we know is completely unknown.

Mole and cutaneous melanoma. What are the causes?

The causes remain unknown, but we can still give an important role to the genetic predisposition and the number of burns suffered at a young age.

Which areas of the body are most at risk?

Moles on the hands and feet are more at risk of developing more aggressive tumors. Many times we are worried about wrinkles or rubbing areas, but these aspects are generally unimportant. In fact, it is not the trauma that transforms a mole from benign to malignant: it is necessary to observe the changes of a mole in color, shape and size.

Color, shape and size. What should we pay attention to?

Most people worry about aesthetically ugly but actually less dangerous raised moles. Obviously, an ignored and neglected melanoma results in a lesion that is certainly ugly to see.

How much does genetic predisposition affect?

Genetics is an aspect that should not be underestimated: new systems are now possible to investigate the personal genetic predisposition towards many types of cancer, including melanoma, which will probably become a fundamental tool for prevention in the coming years.

Among the main risk factors, excessive exposure to sunlight ...

Sunlight, as we know, gives well-being and helps to calcify the bones: it is above all a question of avoiding burns and reckless exposures, especially in the first 20 years of life. For the rest it must be remembered that the sun intervenes more heavily in the development of skin tumors.

Prevention

Acronym ABCDE, what does it mean?

It refers to the characteristics of a new suspect:

  • A: Asymmetry of the lesion
  • B: often jagged or irregular edges
  • C: Irregular color or black color
  • D: great Dimension of the mole
  • E: Evolution, or changes in the time of the lesion.

It must be remembered that all these characteristics are hardly present in melanoma at the same time: it is enough to notice even just one and it is necessary perform a dermatological check-up. The final opinion on the benignity of the lesion obviously belongs to the specialist also using a precious investigation system, dermatoscopy, a lens that allows you to see the mole in its deepest aspects and that provides diagnostic tools now considered indispensable for the diagnosis of melanoma.

How often should you undergo a dermatological examination? How is it done?

It is advisable to undergo a dermatological examination once a year, with more frequent checks if necessary in case of new or growing lesions. For people with many moles, the so-called "Mapping", which then corresponds to a photograph of all areas of the body useful to understand if any lesions change or appear "from scratch". It is a completely painless procedure, very useful in selected cases. It could also be easy to take photos with the help of a family member and print and archive them can be used for simple self-managed checks that are useful to understand if something has changed compared to the past.

At what age is the first consultation recommended?

The first checkup in adolescence is generally recommended.

dr. Stefano Veglio mapping in to a teenager

Who are the most at risk?

Certainly more at risk are people with fair skin, especially if they suffered sunburn at a young age and those who have family members affected by melanoma.

Removal of moles: can they be removed and how?

Does surgical removal involve any risks?

Surgically removing a mole with a scalpel and sutures does not expose it to any risk of tumor proliferation.

What about laser removal?

Although they are now sophisticated, lasers do not absolutely guarantee complete removal of the mole and expose the patient to recurrence of the lesion as unsightly as it is a source of concern regarding the nature of the regrowth.

Dr. Stefano Veglio

What are your tips?

Make the visit with the specialist who will decide, together with the patient, if it is necessary to remove the mole and with which method.

Melanoma: the importance of screening

Melanoma is a very dangerous skin cancer and it is important to recognize it early. The control by the dermatologist specialist once a year, especially for patients with high risk factors, is the first action to combat the neoplasm.

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