Today the prevention of the skin cancer is done by dermatologists using digital dermoscopy.
Dermatoscopes are portable lens having a light source and the ability of 10X or 30X magnification.We can watch the lesion by applying an oil drop on the skin or without this using more modern systems. Photocameras and other digital systems of display can be attached to dermatoscopes and photos are analysed with special softwares and saved in computer files .
Thus we can:
Examine deeper layers of the skin
Make the differential diagnosis between benign and malignant lesions
Evaluate the changes of the nevi as the time passes and
Make decisions for the excision of the nevi.
All this procedure is called dermoscopy and is wise to be done1-2 times per year in order to prevent malignancy and more often when there are dangerous factors. Sun is a source of power and energy for all of us. But the excessive exposure to the sun can cause irreversible damage to our skin. In Greece every year we have 20000 new cases of skin cancer and 500 new cases of melanoma which is the worst type of skin cancer. 90% of skin cancers are due to the exposure to UV radiation. Other dangerous factors are chemical substances, radioactive radiation, chronic irritations and injuries and scars after burns. Patients with family history of melanoma, with open colours of skin and eyes, many nevi or nevi that change have high danger. Usual solariums and outdoor activities, sun burns in childhood and adolescence are incriminatory factors too.
Basal cell carcinoma is quite usual over 60 years and the most usual lesions are on face.It does not give metastasis but it causes severe topical damages if not faced early enough. Squamous cell carcinoma appears more usually on the sun – exposured parts but is more agressive and can give metastasis. Melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer but fortunately the most rare.It can appear on any part of the skin either on a previous healthy skin or upon a nevus. It is very important to self-check our body often and carefully with the help of a family member of ours. In this effort the rule ABCDE can help us. Most melanomas in the beginning do not have symmetry ( A – ASYMMETRY ), have abnormal borders ( B – BORDER ) , have a non –homogenous change of their colour ( C – COLOUR ) , have diameter more than 6mm ( D – DIAMETER ) and their shape and size changes ( E – EVOLUTION ). Sun exposure has an absolute relationship with skin cancer but it also causes many other skin diseases. It causes pre – cancer diseases such as actinic keratoses, it worsens skin diseases such as lupus erythematosus and rosacea and it causes photodermatitis in sensitive patients or after receiving drugs which cause photodermatitis. Aesthetically speaking , sun exposure is responsible for the creation or worsening of telangiectasias ,melasma, wrinkles and flabbiness.
Thus we must take precautions such as:
We must apply sun cream every 3- 4 hours.
Babies must not have sun exposure and children must be protected by hats, shirts and sunglasses
Last year sun creams are not effective
We must avoid sun exposure between 11.00 – 16.00
We must regularly self – check our nevi and at least once per year by a dermatologist
Prevention saves lives. Let’s enjoy the sun but…very carefully.