Mole and Skin cancer screening with Dermatoscopy
The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
The basal cell carcinoma is the most common and usually presents as a pink spot or elevation. It usually grows slowly without metastasising, but over time it can cause significant ulcers or destruction of deeper tissues in its most aggressive forms.
Squamous cell carcinoma is more aggressive and can spread to the lymph nodes. It usually appears as a reddish lump with superficial scaling and grows quickly.
Melanoma is one of the most aggressive cancers and can metastasise easily if not recognised early. It has it origin in melanocytes and usually appears as a pigmented spot or lump, which may appear anywhere on the body.
Cancers can be cures or prevented with early recognition. It is important to recognise precancerous lesions such as actinic keratosis or atypical moles. Actinic keratoses are persistent red rough spots, which may evolve into carcinoma, whereas atypical moles may be the previous stage of melanoma.
To recognise an atypical mole or melanoma you may use two helpful methods. The ugly duck phenomenon that is known as the mole that is different form the others or the ABCD rule where the acronym refers to: A (Asymmetry), B (Border), C (Color), D (Diameter), E (Evolution). Asymmetry, an irregular border, various colours in the same spot, a diameter more than 6 mm, or a mole that changes in shape, colour or size are signs that increase the suspicion of melanoma.
It is recommendable to know your own skin as if it were a map and to explore yourself periodically. When doubt check it out with your dermatologist.
In our clinic we have a lot of experience in the recognition of skin cancer and we use dermoscopy, a technique that allows the visualisation of structures and patterns in the moles with much greater precision.