Skin cancer is a malignant proliferation of skin cells (luculus). One differentiates between the black skin cancer (malignant melanoma) and the white skin cancer (non-melanoma). The less frequent black skin cancer is one of the most dangerous tumours in mankind. Its danger comes form its metastases that spread very quickly to other vital parts of the body. The more frequent white skin cancer stands out less clearly from the skin and is only life-threatening in exceptional cases.
The number of people suffering from skin cancer has increased steadily in recent decades. The trend is rising, because skin cancer is often a consequence of excessive UV irradiation, to which light-skinned Europeans have been exposed more intensively since the 1970s, during holidays, leisure time and through lighter clothing, which was and still is part of the life-style.
The probability of developing skin cancer increases with age, but it also occurs in children and young people.
By means of a timely and thorough preventive examination, the preliminary stages of the cancer (pre-cancer) can already be identified in our dermatological practice and its treatment can be initiated.
For this purpose, we have one of the most modern technologies for early detection of skin cancer worldwide using not only digital skin imaging systems, but also confocal laser microscopy. This early diagnosis is important because skin cancer, including melanoma, can be treated well at an early stage. But this only works if the dermatologist has the necessary experience and equipment. Save deteaction of skin cancer or precancer is not possible with the simple skin screening offered by the statutory health insurance, which is only carried out by means of a gaze check. This makes it a very superficial "examination". Therefore, it is not carried out in our practice. In our opinion, this method is not safe enough to exclude cancer. We have more to offer.
In principle, anyone can get skin cancer. However, the risk increases if you have been exposed to the sun more often and for a very long time in nature. The same can be said if you were to a solarium without adequate sun protection and have had sunburns. People with lighter skin type and with many pigmentation marks are also more frequently affected. Another factor is a genetic predisposition with skin cancer cases in the family. Very rarely, external substances or viruses, as in Kaposi's sarcoma, serve as triggering factors.
So anyone who has been diagnosed with skin cancer once carries a lifelong increased risk and should therefore go for a check-up at the intervals suggested by the dermatologist. For those affected, we draw up appropriate individual screening plans, which usually include digital monitoring of moles so that changes can be accurately identified.
Skin cancer is caused by a change in single skin cells. In many cases, strong UV light that strikes pigment cells (melanocytes) triggers a pathological proliferation into previously healthy cells. With our confocal laser microscope, we are one of the few dermatological practices in Germany that specialize in skin cancer prevention. Thus, we are able to detect these first changes in single cells of the skin. Once detected we can initiate the treatment at an extremely early stage. The confocal laser microscope allows a view under the skin’s surface, where the first mutations appears.
It is not easy to identify skin cancer, because optically black skin
It is not easy to identify skin cancer, because optically black skin cancer can easily be confused with a normal mole. In many cases it also derives from it. If there are changes in shape, colour and size, you should book in with a doctor (experienced dermatologist) and have the area examined under a microscope. Anyway, as experts we try to identify skin cancer precancer, which is a very early stage of cellular deformation.
Observing your own skin can help to detect risky mole so that they will be treated in time. Even though skin cancer can look very different and have many special forms that only an experienced dermatologist can identify with a microscope. But by regularly observing yourself, you can check changes in your moles and freckles. By doing this you see if they change in shape, size and colour. The ABCDE rule, to which we have added a F, helps you. But this rule cannot replace a professional examination as a regular checkup for skin cancer at a dermatologist.
Use the ABCDE mole checklist, which you can go through at home. If one or more of the changes are observed, go to your dermatologist for safety reasons to clarify it. Signs of skin cancer can be as follows:
Pigmented moles with existing or newly appearing irregular shape which does not look round or oval like most others
B – Border
Moles with washed out, unclear edges or a ragged border
C – Colour (engl. Farbe)
Moles with uneven coloration or a mix of light and dark areas
D - Diameter
Moles, larger than 6mm (1/4) in diameter should be examined regularly, especially if the size has changed in a shorter period of time.
E - Evolution
Changes in Moles, in one of the five criteria mentioned above
F - Further characteristics
Through our memberships and the continuing education of the following medical professional associations, we keep up to date with the latest scientific findings and research results in the field of skin cancer prevention and treatment as well as the latest treatment methods.