Prevent and detect skin cancer early

How to prevent and detect skin cancer early

Skin cancer is one of the biggest concerns for dermatology patients. However, if detected in its early stages, the survival rate is greater than 90%. On the other hand, if it is detected in advanced stages, this rate drops to just 15%, which shows the great importance of its early detection and treatment.

As explained by Dr. Enrique Herrera Acosta, head of the Dermatology Service at Vithas Xanit Internacional hospital in Benalmádena and Vithas Málaga, “Early diagnosis can save our lives, which is why, in the face of skin cancer, we insist on prevention and the need to carry out self-examinations and routine controls, since if skin cancer is detected in early stages it has a survival rate greater than 90%”.

It is important to differentiate between the different types of skin cancer:

  • Non-melanoma skin cancers: there are two types, basal cell carcinoma (originating from basal cells) and squamous cell carcinoma (originating from keratinocytes). They are the most common, but they also have a lower mortality. The incidence of these is increasing at a rate of 10% per year.
  • Melanoma, this type originates from melanocytes, and is much more severe. Although they only represent 10% of cases, they cause 90% of deaths from skin cancer.

4,000 melanomas and 75,000 nonmelanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year.

Tips for prevention and early detection

Next, Dr Enrique Herrera gives us some tips to prevent skin cancer:

Limit exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun

Especially with the high temperatures and intense sun in the summer months. Also, we have to take into account that after spending weeks at home, our skin is even more sensitive. For all these reasons it is important to always use sun protection, without forgetting also the lips and ears.

Monitor any changes in our moles and spots

As a first measure for the early detection of skin cancer, it is important to personally check the moles or spots that we know we have, watching for any changes that may occur in them, whether in their color, shape, or if they bother, hurt or itch.

To do a good self-examination, there are five key points that we must take into account in a skin lesion, this is what is known as the ABCDE of skin cancer:

  • A – Asymmetry: When one part of the mole is of a different size and shape than the other.
  • B – Borders: When the contour is irregular.
  • C – Color: When diversity of colors and tones appear (brown, black, red, blue) or they change color.
  • D – Diameter: When there is a variation in the size of the mole, but above all, special attention when the lesion exceeds 6 mm.
  • E – Evolution: When other modifications or changes in appearance, shape or relief are perceived; or the surface skin acquires a dry or flaky texture; or the mole hardens, bleeds, or allows fluid to leak.

These changes can be a symptom of melanoma, so if we detect any of these changes, the best advice is to make an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as possible, there is no reason to wait and there are many reasons to do it as soon as possible.

In the following video(in spanish), Dr. Enrique Herrera Acosta explains the importance of protecting us from the sun in summer, as well as some techniques to detect suspicious lesions on our skin:

Dermatological mapping for early diagnosis

Although, as mentioned, self-examination is very important in early detection, currently we have other diagnostic techniques that allow us to act as soon as possible.

As Dr. Enrique Herrera Acosta explains, “Dermatological mapping (digital dermoscopy) is a diagnostic technique of digital photography that allows to review, examine and store in detail all the skin changes of the patient, their shape, size, location and color.”

Thanks to the information provided by this technique, the dermatologist can analyze and contrast the changes that occur in skin lesions or detect new ones.

In this way, the specialist has a great advantage over possible skin cancer, because the diagnosis avoids unnecessary excisions or biopsies of benign lesions and, in addition, facilitates the early detection and treatment of malignant lesions or melanomas, offering a higher percentage of cure.

Dermatological reviews at Vithas Xanit Internacional

In case you need to go to a dermatological review, remember that at Vithas Xanit Internacional we offer you the most complete reviews, carried out by the best specialists with the latest advances in technology and techniques for diagnosis and treatment. Contact us for more information or make an appointment.

Vithas hospitals are safe hospitals

Vithas’ 20 hospitals are safe hospitals for patients and professionals thanks to the implementation of strict safety protocols against covid-19. Among the measures implemented, the establishment of two different circuits stands out: one for people with symptoms compatible with covid-19, and the other for other patients.

Additionally, we supply masks and hydroalcoholic gel to all people who come to the hospital for any reason. In addition, the Group is carrying out massive virus detection tests on all personnel, who are equipped with all the necessary self-protection measures.

A security that has always been reinforced thanks to the fact that all Vithas hospitals implement the strict protocols of the Joint Commission International, world reference body that accredits patient safety and healthcare excellence.

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