Principally almost everybody has the posibility to develop a darker pigmentation to the skin , we get tanned after being in the sun, some more than others, this is related to our skin type.The skin pigmentation is our natural sun protection.: The melanocytes, staying upon the basalmembran get stimulated by the UV-A and UV-B radiation, they produce more melanin ( which is the colour) and whith their "tentacles " they are able to divide the melanin to the surrounding epidermal cells. The melanin is placed right above the nucleus and it works like a parasol, trying to avoid damages of the DNA.
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So it is easy to understand , that a person, who isn`t able to build up a strong pigmentation has a lesser natural protection against the UV-radiation.
Apart from that homogen pigmentation of our skin almost everybody has some pigmented lesions, called birthmarks, moles, nevus,lentigines and so on.
I don`t want to write a textbook of pigmented moles because it is a really difficult thing to distinguish between all the different types of pigmented moles, but I want to give you some ideas or advices how to look at pigmented lesions and how to act in a responsable way.
When we take a look at the benign pigmented moles ,we find that nearly all of them are round or oval, in a symmetric aspect, they have sharp and clear border , most of them showing only one colour and the diameter is not more than 6mm. Also we don´t find any change of the thickness or size.
All that parameters are reflected in the ABCDE-rule and this is a very good method for the general public to be mole aware :
E: elevation and/or enlargement
Sometimes we can see moles with a different apperance: not symmetric, unsharp border, many colors or larger than 6 mm. These moles need to be examined.
That means that the normal structure of the nevus has changed, the cells are showing irregular cell division. We can find that this can happen with a family history ("syndrom of dysplastic nevus") but also without a family history.The dysplastic nevus is suspicous to be a precursor of a melanoma, so we remove it by minor surgery and do a histopathological analisis.
In the last decades evidence shows a worldwide increase of melanoma. In the year 2000 the risk factor was 1 in 75. The majority of the melanomas show an initial superficial spreading , and in the second stage they grow deeper into the tissue.We can see a very important trend: the vertical thickness of the melanoma is a reliable marker for the risk of sending metastasis to the rest of the body.
It is clear that the very early diagnosis is the most important thing and indeed, if we remove melanomas with less than 1 mm thickness ("low risk melanomas") we find a lifelong healing rate up to 95% of all patients.
The key to all of this is that you are aware of any changes and that you follow the simple ABCDE guidelines. Remember that in the initial stages skin cancer (melanomas) never have any symptoms like pain or itching, it just grows.
Dr Kuhn, is a Preferred Partner of “medilink” and a leading dermatlogist with clinics in both Marbella and Fuengirola.. For more information on Dr Kuhn or any of our other Preferred Partners call “medilink” on 952 93 38 76