Melanoma - schwarzer Hautkrebs
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Skin Cancer: Prevention

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect yourself from the sun. Also, protect children from an early age. Doctors suggest that people of all ages limit their time in the sun and avoid other sources of UV radiation:

  • Better stay out of the midday sun (from mid-morning to late afternoon) whenever you can. You also should protect yourself from UV radiation reflected by sand, water, snow, and ice. UV radiation can go through light clothing, windshields, windows, and clouds.
  • You should use sunscreen lotions. Sunscreen may help you to prevent skin cancer, especially broad-spectrum sunscreen (to filter UVB and UVA rays) with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. However you still need to avoid the sun and wear clothing to protect your skin.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants of tightly woven fabrics, a hat with a wide brim, and sunglasses that absorb UV.
  • Stay away from sunlamps and tanning booths.

To prevent or detect melanomas, it is recommended to learn what they look like (see "ABCDE" mnemonic below), to be aware of moles and check for changes (shape, size, color, itching or bleeding) and to show any suspicious moles to a doctor with an interest and skills in skin malignancy.

A popular method for remembering the signs and symptoms of melanoma is the mnemonic "ABCDE":

  • Asymmetrical skin lesion.
  • Border of the lesion is irregular.
  • Color: melanomas usually have multiple colors.
  • Diameter: moles greater than 5 mm are more likely to be melanomas than smaller moles.
  • Evolution: The evolution (ie change) of a mole or lesion may be a hint that the lesion is becoming malignant --or-- Elevation: The mole is raised or elevated above the skin.

The E is sometimes omitted, as in the ABCD guideline.

People with a personal or family history of skin cancer or of dysplastic nevus syndrome (multiple atypical moles) should see a dermatologist at least once a year to be sure they are not developing melanoma.

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