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Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the world, but it is also one of the most curable.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one of every three cancers diagnosed each year globally is skin cancer – between 2 and 3 million skin cancers are diagnosed in the world every year. Of these, only 1% are melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer and responsible for 90% of deaths from the disease.
The main strategy to avoid its appearance is to avoid excessive exposure to the sun.
However, the WHO warns that the global incidence of the disease does not stop growing.
Although melanoma is usually limited to the skin, there are times when it can develop metastasis and reach internal organs.
Therefore, an early diagnosis is essential to reduce the risk of metastasis and mortality.
The best way to achieve this is to pay attention to the skin and, above all, to the moles, according to experts.
On the World Day Against Melanoma, which is commemorated every May 23, we remind you of the changes that your moles can make and that can send you a warning signal.
The ABCDE rule
Moles are benign tumors resulting from the accumulation of melanocytes, the cells that color the skin.
Some people have a tendency to present more moles for genetic reasons.
And although most do not have any problems and can increase in size, number or pigmentation naturally, there are some changes in your moles that you should review.
It’s about performing a self-exploration of your skin that can take a few minutes and helps early detection of skin cancer.
The 5 signals of change that you should look for are known as the ABCDE rule:
- Asymmetry : a mole that, when divided in half, has an irregular shape.
- Borders : a mole with edges that are poorly defined or irregular.
- Color : when a mole does not have a homogeneous color.
- Diameter : a mole with a diameter greater than six millimeters.
- Evolution : changes in the shape, color relief or symptoms (such as itching, pain or bleeding) of a mole.
Experts also recommend paying attention to skin lesions that change or grow fast.
When doing self-examination, bear in mind that melanoma can occur anywhere on the body , so you should also remember to check also the scalp, back, the spaces between the fingers and the soles of the feet with the help of a mirror.
If you see any of the warning signs, do not overlook it and go to a doctor who specializes in skin diseases.
People with fair skin and light eyes, redheads, people who burn easily, those with a family history of skin cancer or melanoma and people who are long in the sun are at greater risk, so they should visit to the dermatologist frequently to check moles.
How to protect yourself
About 90% of skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Following a few basic WHO tips can help you prevent it:
- Avoid exposing yourself to the sun between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon
- Avoid tanning salons
- Use a sunscreen every day with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Apply it all over the body 30 minutes before leaving and reapply it every 2 hours.
- Wear hat and sunglasses with UV protection
- Keep newborns away from the sun Sunscreens should be used on babies older than six months.
- Examine the skin from head to foot every month.
- Consult a doctor every year for a professional skin exam.