Several media reports mentioned that actress Mirga de Montt spoke about her recently Insta Story About her shock diagnosis: Doctors discovered white melanoma at the age of 45. The so-called “local basal cell carcinoma” was removed, and then everything was given. She said: “The tumor did not spread further after it was removed.” A dermatologist explains what makes the disease so dangerous, who is particularly at risk and how you can protect yourself.
Sun protection is very important
Good sun protection is very important, especially in the summer months. Because if the skin is exposed to radiation without protection, melanoma can develop. Although about 21,000 people develop black and around 180,000 white skin cancer each year, many still underestimate the risk of developing the disease.
White melanoma forms slowly over the years and does not appear in the same skin changes as black skin cancer. This is what makes him so traitorous. Unlike black melanoma, the white or light form is easily treatable and rarely life-threatening – provided it is cured in time. Metastases develop only in rare cases. But very few Germans use retirement offers.
This species is especially vulnerable
Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause tumors in the upper layers of the skin. Slanting cancer mainly occurs in parts of the body that are often exposed to sunlight. This includes
- the nose
- The back of the hand and
- Bald head.
The arms, legs, and trunk are affected less, but in principle the so-called basal cell carcinoma can develop anywhere in the body. Fair skin types with blonde or red hair and blue, green or gray eyes are especially at risk. People who spend a lot of time outdoors or work outside also belong to the at-risk group, because every ray of sunlight leaves its mark.
Dermatologist Kors explains: “The skin does not forgive anything. Every ultraviolet ray can contribute to the later development of skin cancer.” And that could have been 30 years ago. Today, elderly people between the ages of 50 and 60 are diagnosed with white skin cancer. After decades of not protecting themselves enough from the sun just like children or young adults.
Perhaps this is due to a lack of knowledge, but also due to certain travel and leisure behavior in the past. While sunbathing was still a part of the tanning cult in this generation, a growing awareness of sun protection has developed over the past few decades.
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This is how white skin cancer can be detected
Contrary to the colloquial name for basal cell carcinoma, white melanoma is not characterized by a white discoloration. Most of the lumps are skin-colored or pink. Cancer can be recognized by rough, scaly patches or small wounds that are constantly open. Particularly fatal: Normally normal people do not even recognize white skin cancer.
Tumors can then grow in the upper layers of the skin for years or decades. Even if only a slight change can be seen on the surface of the skin, larger areas under the skin can be affected. White melanoma develops slowly. If the altered skin cells are not detected, the cancerous tumor can spread more and more through the tissues.
These types of white skin cancer are found
The two most common forms of white skin cancer are:
- The Basalzellkarzinom, Also called a condyloma, and
- The Platinpethylcarzenium Or myeloma.
Basal tumor occurs frequently and is diagnosed in 80 percent of cases. Scaly or scar-like patches of skin appear that can look like small pimples.
Squamous cell carcinoma is less common but more dangerous than basal cell carcinoma. The neoplasms often resemble a wart-like or weeping ulcer. Outwardly, they are more regular than basal neoplasms and thus are easier to identify. Of a certain size, this form can form metastases and also attack internal organs through settlements.
How to recognize black skin cancer
Black skin cancer (malignant melanoma) is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Even if the number of people with black skin cancer decreases, it is considered very dangerous. In many cases, metastases appear in tumors. Black melanoma can be fatal within a very short time. There are around 3,000 deaths every year in Germany.
According to the Professional Association of Dermatologists, doctors and patients can detect more than 70 percent of all cases at an early stage. Then the chances of a cure range from 86 to 100 percent. Black melanoma most often develops in the lower legs in women and on the back of men. The appearance of neoplasms is not uniform. They often appear flat, knotted, or raised spots that are dark, brown, or black.
How is skin cancer treated
In general, the earlier the cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat it. In most cases, doctors remove the tumor surgically. In doing this, they remove tissue from around the tumor. If surgery is not possible, they treat the skin area with X-rays. However, this is only recommended for patients 65 years of age or older, as young adults are at high risk of developing other forms of cancer.
Depending on the location, size, and depth, cryotherapy is a possible treatment. Tissue is frozen with liquid nitrogen. Another treatment option is what is known as phototherapy. The doctor first applies an ointment to the lump, which makes the skin area sensitive to light. Irradiation with red light is supposed to destroy cancer cells.
Even after acute treatment, those affected should maintain long-term follow-up care with regular checkups. This also means that patients avoid intense sun exposure.
This is how you protect your skin from cancer
To prevent skin cancer, the skin must be adequately protected with clothing, head covering, and sunscreen, and avoiding excessive sun exposure. Regular precautions and adequate protection from UV rays are of particular importance. You should also use an SPF of at least 25 in everyday life, recommends dermatologist Christian Kors.
A sunburn in childhood or adolescence can lead to skin cancer years later. So children and adolescents in particular should protect themselves well from the sun, because if sensitive skin is damaged during these years, the risk of developing skin cancer in adults increases several times.
If you discover visible areas of skin on your body, you should watch for them. A dermatologist should examine spots that have changed their shape, color, and size early. Statutory health insurance companies pay for the screening every two years from the age of 35.
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