Melanoma is very aggressive compared to other forms of skin cancer and can spread (metastasise) to other parts of the body such as the lungs, the liver, the brain and the bones. Around 2,700 cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Switzerland every year. They can develop from existing moles or appear as new lesions.
Melanoma develops over several months or years. If it is diagnosed at an early stage, the chances of a cure are very good, with survival rates at around 90%.
How to recognise melanoma
It is important to perform regular self-checks of your moles using the ABCD rule:
A = asymmetry
B = border
C = colour (multiple colours, especially if they are distributed asymmetrically)
D = diameter (> 5 mm)
Show any areas of skin that are changing or anything that looks unusual to your doctor. Not sure whether to consult your doctor? The experts at concordiaMed will be happy to advise you.
If you have any risk factors, skin cancer screening in the form of a full body examination by a dermatologist is recommended (every one to two years from the age of 35).
Which factors increase the risk of developing melanoma?
More than 50 to 100 moles on your body
Family history of melanoma among first-degree relatives (parents and their children)
Light skin type
Frequent sunburn, especially in your childhood and youth
Previous history of skin cancer
Weakened immune system
And here’s how to reduce your risk of skin cancer:
Protection against UV radiation: use sun screen and wear a head covering, sun glasses and opaque clothing. It is also important to avoid direct exposure to the sun.
If it cannot be removed surgically
If it was not possible to remove the melanoma with a sufficient safety margin
To treat affected lymph nodes or metastases
To alleviate symptoms of bone metastases or nerve compression
In combination with immunotherapy or chemotherapy
As a palliative treatment method
Regular follow-up examinations from your doctor will be required at varying intervals. These make it possible to detect relapses as early as possible and record after-effects of the illness and the treatment.
The time interval depends, among other things, on the type of melanoma, the stage of the disease, the treatments you have had to date and your current state of health.
It is very important to continue taking preventive measures. For that reason, you should protect yourself against UV radiation at all times and check your skin regularly in accordance with the ABCD rule.
Want to find out more? You can find further information on the topic of melanoma on the website of the Swiss Cancer League. If you would like personalised advice, please contact the cancer hotline Krebstelefon or the CONCORDIA Health Compass.
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