MOLE checks AND SKIN CANCER diagnosis
YOUR DERMATOLOGIST IN VIENNA 1030
Mole checks and skin cancer screening by Dr. Martina Sanlorenzo in Vienna 1030
Everybody should undergo periodic mole checks to early detect skin cancer, especially melanoma The typical mole is a brown spot. But moles come in different colors, shapes and sizes. Moles generally appear during childhood and adolescence and some of them may change in appearance or fade away over time. There are three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Skin cancer usually develops on sun-exposed areas of the skin (scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands, and on the legs in women). Skin cancer affects people of all skin colors.
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma can appear as a pearly bump, or as a flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion, or as a bleeding or scabbing sore that heals and returns. When diagnosed at its initial stage, it is cured with surgical excision or local treatment (such as cryotherapy, imiquimod).
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma can appear as a firm, red nodule or as a flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface. Squamous cell carcinoma is best treated with surgical excision.
In the initial stages melanoma can be difficult to distinguish from a normal mole. If you notice that any of your moles has recently changed shape, color, size, please see promptly a dermatologist. In more advanced stages melanoma can look as a lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue or blue-black.
Dr. Sanlorenzo – Your Dermatologist in Vienna 1030 – responds to the most frequent questions on mole checks and skin cancer screening
Everybody should have moles regularly checked by a certified dermatologist. Based on the number of moles, the family history and the skin type, I will recommend to every patient how often to get a mole check.
The mole check is performed with a full body examination. If possible don’t wear makeup or opaque nail polish to your appointment. Bring a list of all medications, and note down any changes you have noticed on your skin. If you have had a melanoma or a mole removed in the past, please note the location and bring with you the biopsy reports.
I will first asks you questions about you and your family, about your general health, and about previous history of skin cancers. Afterwards your entire skin (from head to toes) will be explored using a dermatoscope (an instrument that allows to have a close up/magnified look at any spots). If necessary, I will take digital pictures using a FotoFinder system. Those pictures can be analyzed with a sophisticated algorithm based on artificial intelligence that supports in making the correct diagnosis and can be stored to monitor lesions over time. If a suspicious lesion is identified, I can perform a biopsy or can remove the lesion in my practice.
Sun protection is crucial to protect your skin and avoid the development of skin tumors. Seek shade in the central hours of the day, apply (and re-apply) sunscreen, wear protective clothing, hat and sunglasses. Take particular care of your kids, sunburns during childhood increase dramatically the risk of developing skin cancer.
Melanoma needs to be surgically removed to perform a histological examination and (eventually together with some radiological exams) a correct staging of the disease. If melanoma is diagnosed in an early stage, no other procedures are needed, but your dermatologist will perform a close follow-up over time. In higher risk cases, sentinel lymph node biopsy and other medical treatment could be required.
The surgical excision of suspicious lesions is performed in the private practice and lasts around 15-30 minutes. The lesion will be mapped and the skin area will be cleansed and numbed with local anesthetic, such as lidocaine. After a couple of minutes, a scalpel is used to cut the mole and a border surrounding the mole. Stitches are used to close the skin, and those will be then removed by your dermatologist after 7-14 days. During the follow-up visit to remove the stitches, the histological report will be discussed and your dermatologist will advise you on the following follow-up. In case more complicated procedures are needed (due the size or the localization of the lesion) I have the possibility to directly refer the patient to the Department of Dermatology of the Hospital Klinik Landstrasse (1030, Wien).