Detect skin cancer – early detection and prevention

Skin cancer includes all types of skin cancer. Possible forms include:

  • Black Skincancer
  • White skin cancer
  • Other but rare forms

The number of people who develop skin cancer is continuously increasing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2 to 3 million men, women and children worldwide are newly diagnosed with light skin cancer, which is far more common. Black skin cancer has around 250,000 new cases each year. These numbers are used by health organizations to launch awareness-raising campaigns and raise awareness of skin cancer.

Black skin cancer (malignant melanoma)

Black skin cancer develops from melanocytes, the cells that are responsible for pigmentation. Pigments are crucial for skin color and the color of brown after prolonged exposure to the sun. For this reason, areas affected by skin cancer are dark in color and mostly easy to see.
The earlier the cancer is recognized, the greater the chance of a cure. Detecting black skin cancer is not too difficult. However, those affected usually only discover the change in the skin accidentally, because it is not painful. If poorly visible skin areas are affected, there is an even greater risk that the cancer will be recognized late. The dermatologist will examine the suspicious areas more closely and also take a tissue sample. The ABCDE rule helps with diagnosis.

ABCDE rule for the early detection of black skin cancer

The ABCDE rule helps with the assessment of the skin and the search for abnormalities. Each letter stands for an observation, which in turn can be a signal for black skin cancer.

A for asymmetry

Cells that are affected by black skin cancer change their symmetry. Liver spots and birthmarks have an even margin. Skin cancer cells, on the other hand, have irregular borders. The immediate surroundings can also appear changed or discolored.

B for limitation

Safe skin discolorations are clearly defined. If this is not the case, it is suspected that it is a form of skin cancer. The distinction is not always easy; after all, birthmarks and liver spots are not always circular. A medical consultation can bring clarity.

C for color

Skin discoloration that indicates cancer is also noticeable due to its inconsistent appearance. While birthmarks have a uniform color, there are different shades of color in black skin cancer. Points are also possible.

D for diameter

With black skin cancer, the size of the discolored skin area increases. An alarm signal is when the diameter of a discoloration is larger than 2 mm. By the time they are discovered, however, they can be significantly larger. If the areas are larger than 6 mm, the dermatologist should always be consulted.

E for grandeur

The shape of the changed skin area also plays a role in early detection. Flat, imperceptible areas are mostly harmless. However, if the skin is raised at this point or if the surface changes in another way, a medical examination must be carried out.

Further changes are also possible. Skin areas that start to wet, bleed or itch must be examined more closely. This also applies when the regions are under particular mechanical pressure, as is the case with friction from clothing. These spots can degenerate and require special attention.

Examinations at the dermatologist

The doctor also applies the ABCDE rule. He examines the entire body, including the hairy parts of the body. Since the scalp can also be affected, special attention is required here. To recognize all changes, the specialist uses a magnifying glass and a strong lamp. Should he discover any abnormalities, he will surgically remove the affected skin or refer the patient to a suitable clinic. The examination of the removed skin in a laboratory is carried out in principle and does not have to be required. If the doctor does not find any noticeable spots during the external examination, he can still sensitize the patient to his own skin and its changes. Skin areas that are particularly at risk need intensive observation. Everyone can contribute to this. It is then helpful to be instructed by the doctor about which areas should be observed. It is also important to reduce exposure to sunlight. Noticeable skin areas should never be exposed to the sun.

The skin cancer screening to the dermatologist has any statutory insurance over 35 is entitled, and indeed every two years. With such an examination, the doctor includes the entire body. He asks questions about health and gives advice after the physical examination. Personal risk factors are included in this consultation, such as a hereditary predisposition and lifestyle. Skin cancer screening is one of the cancer screening tests.

White skin cancer

Different forms are summarized under white skin cancer. These include squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Here too, various subtypes are known that make it difficult to distinguish between them. White skin cancer is not limited to the skin in the further course. The symptoms change depending on the organs affected.

The signs of white skin cancer depend on the subform. The prickle cell cancer starts with scaly skin lesions until the skin finally horny. If this cornification is removed, the skin areas underneath bleed. Slight inflammation is also possible. Over time, this cornification becomes thicker and wider. It is also so firmly attached to the skin that trying to remove it noticeably hurts the skin.

With basal cell cancer , only small nodules are initially visible. They are whitish to gray and have a shiny surface. Deviations in appearance are possible. The changed areas are mainly on the face, between the hairline and upper lip. But other parts of the body can also be affected. This type of cancer does not occur only on the mouth, soles of the feet and palms of the hands, as well as on the genital mucosa.

If the surface is injured, crusts form. If left untreated, the skin areas change and become flatter over time. However, the cancer grows deep at this stage. Unlike black skin cancer, white skin cancer is quickly overlooked, increasing the risk of complications.
Treatment depends on the type of cancer and the stage. With early detection, the forecast is considered very good. However, if the cancer cells get into the bloodstream or the lymph, there is a risk of spreading, which makes treatment significantly more difficult.

Early detection and prophylaxis are essential

Skin cancer cannot be prevented with certainty, because it is primarily harmful environmental factors that increase the risk. However, there are a number of ways in which the risk of the disease can be significantly reduced. This includes avoiding direct sunlight. Children in particular should be given the best possible protection. The measures include:

  • Suitable sun protection
  • As little stay in the sun as possible
  • UV-proof clothing
  • No visit to the solarium
  • Wear headgear
  • Protect eyes
  • Regular visits to the dermatologist
  • Follow the ABCDE rule

Every sunburn increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Light skin types are particularly at risk and people with a lot of birthmarks should be all the more careful. How high the personal risk of developing skin cancer can be easily clarified by visiting the dermatologist.

Proper sun protection and careful observation of skin changes reduce the risk of skin cancer. If you have a dermatologist screened once or twice a year, you can be sure that changes requiring treatment will be recognized in good time.


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