Moles and Malignant Melanoma
The presence of skin moles is quite common in many people, but can often be a risk factor for melanoma. In any case, prevention is the best method to avoid unpleasant situations...
Normal naevi are usually small brown spots or skin surfaces that occur during the first decades of human life. They may be either flat or raised and usually have a round or spheroidal shape. Most naevi appear due to sun exposure. The average young adult has about 10 to 20 such spots or skin nodules. Generally, normal moles (melanocytic naevi) have the following characteristics:
Shape: Symmetrical, round or oval.
Border: Normal, accurate, and well defined.
Color: Uniform, usually brown or in skin color.
Measurement: Usually 6 mm or less in diameter.
Location: Usually we find them focus on areas of the skin that is exposed to the sun, such as the face, trunk, hands and feet.
Start of appearance: More often during the first childhood and up to the age of 35-40 years.
Uniformity: Normal naevi resemble each other.
Dysplastic naevi are common benign dark-like niples. Individuals with dysplastic naevi are more likely to develop single or multiple melanomas. The larger the number of these moles, the higher the risk is. Patients with 10 or more naevi are 12% more likely to develop melanoma than the general population.
People with dysplastic naevi and with family history of melanoma (2 or more blood relatives with this disease) have an extremely high risk of developing melanoma. However, people with dysplastic naevi, but without a family history of melanoma, may experience a 7-27 times higher risk of developing melanoma compared to the general population, a percentage that certainly indicates the need for monthly self-examination, regular skin testing by professionals and daily Sun protection. Dysplastic nevi usually exhibit the following characteristics:
Shape: Usually asymmetrical. If you draw a line in the middle, you will see that the two sides do not coincide.
Border: Irregular. The edge gradually fades into the surrounding skin.
Color: Various and irregular, with thin, random areas of tanned leather, brown, dark brown, red, blue or black.
Diameter: Generally larger diameter of 6 mm. Usually in the size of a pencil eraser, but may be of smaller diameter.
Location: Most commonly on the back, chest, abdomen, and extremities. Naevi may also appear in areas of skin that are not exposed to sunlight such as the area, inguinal, or female breasts, as well as on the scalp.
Appearance: Appearance varies greatly, dysplastic naevi often differ from one another.
Number: It may appear from a few to over 100 dysplastic naevi.
Having many moles, either normal or atypical, is a high risk factor for melanoma. Do not expect more serious warnings about possible melanoma, such as:
- Blue-Black color
If any of these warning signs appear on your skin or on the skin of a person in your family environment, do not delay! Consult a doctor experienced in skin diseases.
Malignant Melanoma is one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer, which usually appears as an asymmetric, irregular, colorful or brown color (as a tanned skin) spot or as a black spot that continues to increase in size over a period. It first appears as a flat spot that then raises. In rare cases, it may not be pigmented.
People with dysplastic naevi and with a family history of melanoma tend to develop cancer at a younger age than melanoma patients who had not had such naevi. Individuals with dysplastic naevi but with no family history of melanoma may develop melanoma at a relatively young age, but rarely.
Fortunately, melanoma can be one of the simplest forms of cancer during the diagnosis phase and one of the simplest forms of cancer when it comes to treatment if it is found and removed in the short term. But if it is allowed to spread to other parts of the body (give metastases) then the prognosis is too poor. Approximately 8,700 deaths per year occur due to melanoma.
It is often difficult to distinguish between dysplastic naevi and the onset of a melanoma. (Sometimes, melanoma will appear in the form of a dysplastic naevus). To establish the difference, a doctor should excise the entire lesion if possible. Many doctors recommend examining the skin with a dermatoscope, which magnifies and allows the visualization of structures and colors that will not be able to see with the naked eye.
«KNOW YOUR SKIN»
Anyone who has an increased risk of developing melanoma should be alert. Does one of the following factors apply to you?
- Light eyes, hair, and / or skin
- Many moles
- Personal or family history of melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer
- Sensitivity to sun exposure
- Lack of tanning ability
- Repeated and intermittent cases of sunburn
- Existence of a very large naevus at birth or dysplastic moles.
The best advice is: “Get to know your skin!”
Each member of a family should know the existence of all the moles all over their skin so that they can reduce the risk of melanoma spreading and develop into life-threatening disease.
Anyone, especially someone with an increased risk of developing melanoma, should:
- Make a full skin check every month, using a good light source to better illuminate the areas under consideration, a full-length mirror and a hand mirror. Ask a member of your family or a friend to help you look at parts of your body that are hard to see for yourself. The hair dryer is useful when looking at the scalp. Examine even your foot and the skin between your fingers.
- Ask for immediate medical attention if any of the previously reported melanoma warning signs are found.
- Take a check from the top of the head to the toenails of a physician once a year or more often. If a vaneus changes, as often due to aging, they should be checked at more frequent intervals. Tell your doctor about any areas that show suspicious signs, symptoms, or changes.
If your doctor suspects the presence of dysplastic naevi, one or more moles may need biopsy, and will be excised for histological examination. It is not necessary to remove the entire dysplastic naevus. However, if the mole show significant changes or signs of malignant melanoma, or even if new moles occur after the age of 40, then the excision of these should be considered.
PREVENTING SKIN CANCER
Although most skin cancers are almost always treatable when detected and treated early, the most secure line of defense is prevention. Here are some safe common practices that should be part of everyday hygiene for every person:
- Look for shade, especially the hours between 10 am and 4 pm
- Avoid burns.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning chambers.
- Cover with clothing, especially with a wide-eyed hat and UV sunglasses.
- Use a wide range of sunscreen with a 15-degree protection or even higher protection every day. For extended outdoor use, use a waterproof, wide-range anti-solar with a protection mark of 30 and above.
- Apply 1g (2 tablespoons) of anti-solar to your entire body for 30 minutes before going out. Repeat every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns away from sun exposure. Sunscreens are used in babies after the age of six months.
- Examine your skin from the top of the head to the toes of the feet every month.
- Visit your doctor every year for a professional dermatological examination.