Count your moles
People who have many birthmarks are even encouraged to see dermatologists and oncologists.
According to WHO statistics, 48,000 melanoma deaths are reported worldwide each year. In Ukraine, almost three thousand new cases are diagnosed every year, and a third of tumors are detected during mass examinations.
We will talk about this in detail with Zhanna Prykhodko, a dermatologist of the highest category, and Andriy Lysetsky, an oncodermatologist, chief physician of the Clinical Academy of Laser Medicine.
– Everyone has birthmarks. Are we all at risk?
– In general, a mole or nevus is a congenital pigmented or acquired pigmented formations on the skin. They occur in early childhood, and adults can have from 3 to 100 birthmarks. Nevi are small (0.5 to 1.5 centimeters), medium (1.5-10 centimeters) and large (more than 10 centimeters).
By themselves, they do not pose a danger – they are benign formations. However, under certain conditions, the process of their degeneration can begin when melanoma occurs at the site of the mole. We are talking about trauma to moles, active tanning, in particular in the solarium, exposure to chemicals or radiation.
– People mistakenly believe that bulging moles, which rise above the level of the skin, are more dangerous. In fact, melanoma most often develops from flat nevi.
In general, moles are divided into those that are at risk of rebirth and those that are not. Because there are a dozen species of nevi themselves. However, it is not easy to find out for yourself whether a mole is safe or not, so you should visit a dermatologist or oncodermatologist at least once a year to examine the mole. Because 70% of melanoma develops in them.
– How to notice that the rebirth has begun?
– A normal mole is calm – solid, constant size. If it began to appear spots of other colors – brown, red, purple – this is a sign that the mole has begun to regenerate.
Also pay attention to the shape – healthy nevi are usually round or oval. If you draw an imaginary line through the mole, its halves should be symmetrical. Moles, in which the processes of rebirth began, become asymmetric. In addition, the edges of a healthy mole are smooth, clear, not blurred, and the edges of melanoma – torn, cracked, flaky, may bleed.
Concerns should be of growing moles (most melanomas range in size from 6 millimeters to 1 centimeter). Anxiety is inflammation of the mole or tissues around it, bleeding nevus, itching, and so on.
– How is melanoma diagnosed?
– In addition to visual inspection, the doctor must examine the mole with a special device – a dermatoscopy. This method allows you to detect melanoma in the early stages.
– The development of cancer is a multi-stage process, preceded by precancerous conditions. If suspicious nevi are removed, they must be sent for a cell examination. Detection and treatment of melanoma at an early stage gives recovery to 100% of patients, the second – 80%, the third – 30%, the fourth – only 5-8%. Therefore, I advise you to be examined and do it every year.