Birthmark and skin cancer screening

Birthmark and skin cancer screening

The recognition of a malignant process that begins in the pigment-producing cells of the skin, known as melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer is the task of a specialist clinician. Pigment containing birthmarks on the body can often develop into melanoma and therefore their regular monitoring may contribute to the early recognition of the most malignant of skin cancers. Of the non-melanoma skin cancers appearing on areas exposed to sunlight, the basalioma never generates metastasis, but destroys the surrounding area, and therefore should be removed as urgently as possible. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin (spinalioma) can also be treated with surgery, but its early recognition is fundamental in order to prevent subsequent complications.

In the course of birthmark screening, we examine the total skin surface: in addition to the body and the limbs, special attention must be paid to the examination of the palms and soles, the scalp and other covered areas (armpits and genitals). We prepare photo documentation of each suspicious birthmark (using a Heine Delta 20 Plus polarised dermatoscope and Nikon D80 mirror reflex camera). The photos are stored on a server and will be compared to the actual condition during any subsequent birthmark examination. If required, we also perform operations using local anaesthetics. Biopsy is also prepared in each case and the histological results are issued in writing within one week.

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Should you wish to regularly check your birthmarks at home, the ABCD rules will prove to be very useful. We provide an extended set of ABCD rules containing easily memorisable factors from A to I.

Do not hesitate to show your birthmark to a dermatologist urgently, if
A (asymmetry) – becomes asymmetric
B (border) – its borders and borderlines are fading or small extensions appear that grow towards the main body of your birthmark
C (colour) – the colour of your birthmark changes (becomes darker or whiter)
D (diameter) – begins to grow and its diameter increases
E (elevation) – your previously flat birthmark elevates
E (evolving) – your birthmark is developing or reducing
F (form) – the birthmark changes its shape
G (growing) – your birthmark is growing continually
H (haemorrhage)- your birthmark is bleeding
I (itching) – your birthmark itches either occasionally or constantly