Nevi (Moles) and Melanoma
Normal nevi are usually small brown spots or growths on the skin occurring during the first decades of a person’s life. They can be either flat or raised and are usually round or spherical. Most moles occur due to exposure to sun radiation.
MELANOMA is one of the most lethal forms of skin. It occurs as an asymmetrical, irregular patch or growth, brown or multi-color patch or as a growth that continuously expands over time. In rare cases it may not be melanocytic.
DYSPLASTIC NEVI (atypical moles): they are common benign moles resembling to melanoma. People with dysplastic nevi are more likely to develop isolated melanomas. The higher the number of these nevi the higher the risk. According to medical reports, 2-8% of the Caucasian population develops these moles. Inheritance also plays a major part in their occurrence. People with dysplastic nevi and a family history of melanoma (2 or more blood relatives affected by this condition) are at extremely high risk of developing melanoma.
Certain people are so affected by both types of nevi (typical – atypical) that they are classified as suffering from atypical nevus syndrome. These people are particularly high risk to develop melanoma and very often present the following three symptoms that are typical of this condition:
- 100 or more nevi
One or more nevi of a diameter of 8mm (1/3 inch) or greater
- One or more atypical nevi.
Having numerous nevi, normal or atypical, is a high risk factor for developing melanoma. If you suspect the presence of melanoma consult your Dermatologist immediately before you present more serious warning signs such as Pruritus, Elevated Skin, Crusts, Serum leak, Pain, Hemorrhage, Oedema, Ulcer, Blue– Black color.
Melanoma is one of the simplest forms of cancer to diagnose and one of the simplest forms of cancer treatment -wise, if it is detected and removed early. However, if it is left untreated and spreads in other parts of the body (metastasizes), prognosis is very poor. Even though most skin cancers are almost always curable when detected and treated early, prevention is the safest line of defense.
- Remain in the shade (mainly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
- Avoid burns.
- Avoid tan and solarium.
- Cover your body with clothes, a hat with brim and sunglasses.
- Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily. If you have to be exposed to solar radiation use SPF over 50.
- Do not expose newborns to the sun.
- Examine your skin everywhere as often as possible (self-examination).
- Consult your physician for a skin exam ever year.