SKIN CANCER INFORMATION

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, accounting for nearly half of all cancers. It has been estimated that nearly half of all Americans who live to age 65 will develop skin cancer at least once.

There are three types of skin cancer:

  • The most common are non-melanoma skin cancers (basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas). They are treatable and seldom fatal.
  • Malignant melanoma is the third and generally the most serious form of skin cancer as it tends to spread (metastasize) quickly throughout the body.

The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change in the appearance of the skin, such as a new growth or a sore that will not heal. Unexplained changes in the appearance of the skin lasting longer than two weeks should be evaluated by a doctor.

Ultraviolet light, i.e. sunlight, is the main cause of skin cancer. For susceptible individuals, avoiding sun exposure is the best way to lower the risk for all types of skin cancer. Regular monitoring, both by self-examination and regular physical examination, is also a good idea for people at higher risk. People who have already had any form of skin cancer should have regular medical checkups.

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Malignant Melanoma

Although malignant melanoma accounts for only a small percentage of skin cancer, it is far more dangerous than other skin cancers and is the leading cause of death from skin disease.

Malignant melanoma is caused by changes in cells called melanocytes. It can appear on normal skin, or it may begin as a mole or other area of skin that has changed in appearance. Some moles that are present at birth may develop into melanomas.

 

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If malignant melanoma is identified and treated early, it is almost always curable. If detected too late, however, it can advance and spread with fatal consequences. While it is not as common as other types of skin cancer, malignant melanoma causes the most deaths and its rate of incidence is steadily increasing.

The risk of developing malignant melanoma increases with age. However, it is also frequently seen in young people. Increased risk depends on several factors such as sun exposure, skin type and family history.

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Diagnosing Melanoma

Nevisense is just one of several possible steps that support your doctor in making a complete diagnosis. By measuring beneath the skin’s surface, it provides further information in order for your doctor to accurately determine the next steps in your treatment.

1. Visual examination

To determine whether a mole is malignant, a doctor usually first discusses the patient’s medical history to determine risk factors such as family history of skin cancer. Then a visual examination is performed, which in most cases is sufficient for the doctor to determine whether further treatment is necessary.

2. Measurement with Nevisense

In more difficult cases, visual examination can be a challenge. Nevisense helps your doctor to gather the additional information needed to make a more precise diagnosis by providing:

  • a proven method, tested in the world’s largest melanoma detection study
  • objective diagnostic information
  • immediate results

3. Possible mole removal

If a mole shows signs of melanoma in any of these first two steps, it may be removed by excision or excisional biopsy. Your doctor will then send the surgically removed mole to a laboratory for further analysis, resulting in a final diagnosis.

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