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Self-examination and healthy habits in sun exposure key in skin cancer

Over the years the incidence of skin cancer continues to increase throughout the world. According to the report of Euromelanoma and the survey carried out

Over the years the incidence of skin cancer continues to increase throughout the world. According to the report of Euromelanoma and the survey carried out by the Global Coalition for the Advocacy of the Melanoma PatientIn the last 10 years, this type of skin cancer has increased by almost 50%, reaching more than 287,000 cases worldwide, with more than 60,000 deaths a year.

Half (46.2%) of the diagnoses made in dermatological outpatient clinics in Spain are of tumor pathology.

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And although the best known, named and feared is melanoma, there are several types of skin tumors. As explained by the doctor Eduardo Nagore member of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV) the three most prevalent cancers are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

They are slow-growing tumors and are easily treatable. In addition, it is very rare that they metastasize so their prognosis is usually very good.

It can produce metastases in the lymph nodes and after its elimination the overall survival at 5 years is greater than 90%.

The key is prevention and self-assessment

Educating in health is always an advantage for both the patient and the doctor. But in the case of skin cancers it is vital to improve the prognosis of the disease.

Proof of this are the data of a study, carried out with the support of the Academy of Dermatology, which showed that a three-month delay in the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinomas meant a loss in survival of up to 8 points at 5 years and 13 points in the case of melanomas.

Despite this, only 11% of the population undergoes a mole check with a dermatologist and only 33% self-examine their skin annually. For this reason, skin specialists offer different tools in order for the patient himself to check his own skin to detect any alarm symptoms.

How do I check my skin?

Asymmetry: asymmetric polka dots.

Should: polka dots with irregular edges, scalloped, cut to the peak.

Color: different kinds of color, brown, black, gray, bluish.

Diameter: diameter greater than 6 mm.

Evolution: see if there has been an evolution in recent months that has meant a step to any of the previous points.

The specialists also remind us that we have at our fingertips new technological tools to help self-exploration, such as different mobile applications (UV Derma and eDerma).

And… Watch out for the sun!

Avoiding the burn is crucial in the prevention of skin cancer, especially in children and adolescents. And is that the risk of melanoma in adulthood doubles if burns were suffered in childhood or adolescence.

How to reduce the damage caused by solar radiation? Well, as indicated by dermatologists, acquiring healthy habits before sun exposure:

Last but not least, is to go to the dermatologist on a regular basis or at any warning sign. The earlier treatment is started, the better the prognosis.

The pandemic has reduced the diagnosis of melanoma

Data from a recent survey of more than 700 dermatologists around the world has revealed the impressive impact of the coronavirus crisis on the detection of melanoma skin cancer.

Compared with dermatological check-ups routinely performed in a normal year, dermatologists estimate that probably 21% of this type of skin cancer will not have been diagnosed in 2020.

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The problems of sanitary saturation and the cancellation of appointments (33.6%) by patients are the main reasons that explain the infradiagnóstico of this pathology.

If we consider these figures, in addition to the most recent incidence rates of melanoma in the World Health Organization, the survey seems to indicate that, worldwide, more than 60,000 melanomas have not been diagnosed and that this figure, in Spain, reaches 1,113 undetected cases.

In addition to diagnoses, dermatologists add another worrying fact, which is that, during the period of confinement, in Spain the tumors operated on were reduced by 40% and the number of thick skin tumors, melanoma and non-melanoma types, increased.

With these data in hand, the experts of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology They estimate that this year, due to Covid-19, one in five people with early stage melanoma will remain undiagnosed.

In fact, today 165 people will not be diagnosed with melanoma due to confinement by Covid-19.

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