With the arrival of the summer, skin care, a pending subject that should be taken into account throughout the year, as recommended by specialists, is again of special importance. And it is not something to take lightly: although the incidence of melanoma increases with age, it is one of the most common causes of death in the population under 40 years of age.
With melanoma, prevention and early diagnosis are the best weapons. On the first, the recommendations often come to us and warn us to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, especially in the central hours of the day, to apply sun protection in any situation –practicing sport, working, going for a walk, etc.– and not only in the moments of beach or swimming pool, and above all to be responsible. For the diagnosis, specialists remember that it is essential to perform periodic dermatological examinations to analyze the moles of the body and to see their evolution. In that subject, however, we Spaniards suspend.
According to data from the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV), 22% of the population in Spain admit that they have never checked their moles and more than 75% point out that they have never gone to the dermatologist to evaluate their skin. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that skin cancer is the most common type found in all the world, and that new cases of melanoma are increasing more rapidly than in any other type of cancer. The positive fact is that 95% of the cases are curable if detected in time, hence, dermatologists recommend, in addition to acquiring some healthy lifestyle habits that protect us adequately from the harmful effects of the sun, the periodic review of the skin that allows an early detection.
We all have to take care of our skin, but there’s a segment of the population that needs to be even more careful. It is “people with skin phototypes clear skin, many moles, history of sunburn in childhood or family history of melanoma, and should undergo a periodic review of the skin, go to the dermatologist once a year to get a checkup and make self-examination at home,” says dr. Lucia Gamez, medical assistant of the Unit of Dermatology of the Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia and in the Area of Aesthetic Dermatology Medical Institute Ricart. “For the general population it is advisable to carry out this type of check once a year, but if there is a history it is done every less time”, adds Dr. Gámez, who remembers the importance of self-examination”at least once a month and, in the event of any change or issue that attracts attention, always go to the dermatologist so that you can have a look at it”.
in order to have the moles controlled, we must attend to issues such as their asymmetry –that one half of the mole looks different from the other–, the irregular edges, that changes color, that has a diameter of more than five millimeters or that modifies its size, shape, bites or inflames. Locating and observing the evolution of the moles is the dermatological technique that best makes it possible to verify their degree of danger and nowadays the diagnosis can be more precise thanks to the digitized dermatoscopy. “By dermatoscopy we can evaluate the characteristics of pigmented lesions and thus determine criteria of benign or malignant, if any,” highlights the dermatologist of the Ricart Medical Institute, which has an Advanced Dermatology Unit, unique in Valencia and which has Photofinder, the most advanced technology that makes the mapping of digitalized moles.
The advantage of the Photofinder system over classical dermatoscopy is the support of the digital system it integrates. “Not only does it make it possible to evaluate the patient’s injuries, but they are also recorded in a program so that a very detailed follow-up can be made of each patient. In addition, it incorporates new injury detection technology, which not only explores the patient’s moles but also detects new injuries. Being able to compare helps us a lot to have a more global view of the patient,” explains Dr. Gámez.
This system incorporates technology that indicates if any injury is suspicious, which confirms the assessment of the dermatologist who is experienced in detecting any suspicious injury. “This is a support, a technique that helps us and supports us to better follow up and diagnosis,” says the dermatologist.
The Unit of Dermatology of the Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia and the Medical Institute Ricart adds up to the 28 of June to the campaign of Euromelanoma, launched by the AEDV and through which you offer reviews of moles of free appointment on the 960 619 002. The initiative, as Dr. Gámez points out, “seeks that everyone can have access to a dermatologist once a year for free to check their moles and have a complete skin check.” “This gives the opportunity to all over the world who do not have access or who has not been able to go during the year to at least being able to register free of charge via the campaign web site or by phone to see a dermatologist near your home and that you make a checkup of the skin,” he adds.
In order to protect the skin, especially in the summer months, specialists always recommend having an impact on common sense. That means not sunbathing in the middle of the day and, if we go to the beach, it is better to avoid prolonged exposures that make us forget to renew the photoprotector. “It is important to apply sunscreen every two hours and also use it in the mountain, practicing sports, walking, working… must Not be overlooked in this time of the year,” stresses dr. Gámez.
Special attention is due to the smallest ones in the House, since 80% of the solar radiation that is going to affect us throughout our life is absorbed in childhood. That is why it is “essential to prevent sunburn in children, since that drastically increases the chances of having a melanoma,” recalls dr. Gámez, who underlines the importance of “raising the awareness of children from early childhood