In Brazil, skin cancer is the most frequent cancer type. Ultraviolet radiation is responsible for more than 90% of the cases and it is present in sunlight and in artificial tanning booths. The most common tumors are: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma – which is the most dangerous of all.
Which are the danger signs?
- Asymmetry: divide the mole in half, one half is different from the other;
- Irregular margins: the edges of the lesion are cropped or not well defined;
- Various colors: when a lesion shows different colors: brown, red, pink, black, white, bluish;
- Injuries larger than 6 mm;
- Wounds that not heal, or that heal and reopen are suspicious; also, lesions with elevated and glossy surface, red, brown, pink or multicolored;
- Black or brown moles that changes its colors, texture, become irregular in the edges and grow the size;
- Spots or wounds that scratch, hurts, bleed, have crusting or erosions.
Dermatoscopy and mole mapping
Dermatoscopy is the most reliable and safe exam to follow up the moles in order to early detect any slight alteration of color, size or shape of the existing moles, and also the emergence of new moles. This procedure is particularly useful for prevention and early detection of melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer.
This examination is performed by a dermatologist specialized in the technique, who analyses dermatoscopy photos in details using a computer to search for the characteristics of the moles and their eventual modifications along the time in in the computer.
Prevention and treatment of skin cancer
The prevention is made by sun protection, by auto examination (made by the patient verifying all the parts of the body) and by the dermatologist examination, who examines the patient’s skin regularly every six months and, if necessary, will indicate the dermatoscopy examination for the moles.
Skin cancer treatment is specific for each case. It may include creams of local use, cryotherapy (a kind of dry ice spray), surgery or photodynamic therapy. Photodynamic therapy is a treatment based in application of a cream that penetrates in the tumor and absorbs light, which will lead to the destruction of the tumor. The application is made on the clinic and is indicated for tumors and premalignant lesions (like actinic keratosis, for example), and has a good aesthetic result.