Over 200,000 new patients are diagnosed with skin cancer in Germany every year. It is the most common form of cancer. The good news: skin cancer is both easy to identify and – in the early stages – easy to treat. Early detection minimizes the severity of the disease. For this reason, early detection and treatment are important in preventing noticeable problems or even disfigurement. For this reason, you should let a doctor check you regularly!
The UV radiation emitted by the sun and in solariums plays a decisive role in the development of skin cancer. The trigger for the development of skin cancer as a result of UV exposure is damage to our genetic material, our DNA. If the damage to the DNA in the cells cannot be completely repaired, these cells can mutate into the original cells for a tumor.
We generally differentiate between two types of skin cancer:
- Malignant melanoma: Melanomas can develop on existing liver spots (nevi) or in previously healthy skin. Malignant melanomas often metastasize (spread) and as such it is the most dangerous type of skin tumor.
- Basal-cell carcinoma: Basal-cell carcinoma is the most common form of malignant skin tumour. Almost all basal-cell carcinomas are caused by intensive exposure to the sun over many years. Consequently, they often develop in people who work outside or are intensively exposed to UV radiation in their leisure time. People with pale skin, blond or red hair and blue, green or gray eyes also have a higher risk of being affected.
If you answer "YES" to any of the questions, ask your dermatologist!
- Are you a light skin type that is sensitive to the sun?
- Do you have a lot of pigmentation marks?
- Do you have large congenital pigmentation marks?
- Do you have atypical birthmarks or those that have recently changed?
- Did you have sunburn as a child or teenager?
- Have there been cases of skin cancer in your family?
- Have you already developed skin cancer yourself?
- Are you regularly exposed to strong sunlight?
Changes in moles can be an indication of skin cancer. Therefore, observe your moles for the following criteria:
- Color changes (e.g. lighter, darker, new colors)
- Change in size or thickness
- Changes in the enivronment of moles (e.g. redness, whitening, swelling)
- New moles
- Bleeding moles
Regularly examine your moles and any wounds that do not heal over a period of four weeks. Pay attention to changes using the ABCDE rule:
A = Asymmetry: uneven, asymmetric shape
B = Limitation: irregular edges
C = Coloration: different colors
D = Diameter: larger than 5 mm
E = Development: Change in the last three months
If your skin changes, make an appointment with a dermatologist!
Think of your skin as a landscape. With the FotoFinder bodystudio ATBM procedure for Automatic Total Body Mapping, a map of your moles ("Body Map") is created and monitored over the long term. The procedure is based on the "two-step method for digital follow-up", the most advanced method for monitoring skin and birthmarks practiced by skin cancer experts worldwide.
In a first step, images of the entire skin surface are taken and stored in seconds and completely painlessly. In addition, atypical and altered moles are microscopically recorded, stored and analyzed for malignancy with the video reflected-light microscope.
At regular check-ups, the skin and moles are photographed again and the automatic body scan compares them with the images from the last examination. The software marks new and changed birthmarks. In this way, even small changes in the skin and each individual mole and new birthmarks can be detected as early as possible if the chances of recovery are good. Unnecessary operations are avoided. This procedure offers double security - especially for high-risk patients!
The examination with the FotoFinder ATBM procedure is currently still a self-payer service for patients with statutory health insurance (so-called individual health management). Private health insurance companies usually cover the costs. Costs may vary depending on the examination used and personal risk factors. Please ask your doctor!