Basalioma and Co: Skin cancer on the rise

Basalioma, spinalioma, melanoma: These terms from dermatology, the doctrine of skin diseases, you will have to get used to. Quite alien, the terms for the different skin cancers are no longer meanwhile, but the rapid increase in skin cancer in Germany will soon ensure a high degree of popularity of basalioma and Co. Every year, more than 100, 000 people in Germany suffer from one of the various types of skin cancer - up to 10, 000 people die each year from the most malignant form, melanoma.

Love sun, evil sun?

These forms of cancer arise mainly in the light-exposed areas of the body: So on the face, on the nose and ears, on the bald and the lips, on the hands and on the forearms. Initially, the diseases only affected people who were predominantly outdoors, such as road workers, farmers, mountain guides and sailors, so the changed leisure behavior has led to a sharp increase in the number of illnesses in the entire population.

In any case, experts blame sunburns and other photodamage on the skin, although the results of individual studies are not always conclusive. The constant expansion of the ozone hole leads to an increasing natural UV exposure of the population, the solaria visit and extended sunbathing the rest, to promote the skin cancer.

Basalioma as the most common form of skin cancer

Basalioma (basal cell cancer) is the most common form of skin cancer, with around 80, 000 new cases a year. The most common tumor of the outer skin, the basal cell infiltrates and rarely forms secondary tumors. It is considered to be easy to treat.

In many patients, the basal cell carcinomas do not change over the years, or only minimally, so they are often not taken seriously or even overlooked, although they lead to superficially visible lesions. Depending on the appearance, different basal cell types are distinguished, all of which cause no pain.

However, basaliomas are problematic because, for example, they can occupy a large area in the area of ​​the face, which can then cause both cosmetic and medical problems during removal. In addition, some Basaliomformen form streamer, which are superficially unrecognizable. Basaliomas are particularly common on the eyelid and can cause great damage to the eye and optic nerves. Typical of basaliomas on the eye is the loss of eyelashes.

Diagnosis of a basalioma

Men and women are equally affected by basalioma. As a rule, people are ill from the age of 60, but with appropriate family history, even young people over the age of 30 years can suffer from a basal cell carcinoma.

Basaliomas generally have the color of normal skin. But they can also appear brown to blackish brown, which can lead to confusion with melanoma, so the black skin cancer. This is called a pigmented basalioma.

The dermatologist is usually able to make the diagnosis "basalioma" because of the typical skin changes during the examination. To ensure the diagnosis, a tissue sample is usually examined histologically. But even patients with poorly healing wounds should consult a dermatologist to exclude a basal cell carcinoma. Basaliomas can be surgically removed as well as irradiated with good results.

Treatment: photodynamic therapy

The choice of therapy depends on the location and size of the basal cell as well as the general condition of the patient. Chemotherapy is out of the question for treatment.

For some time now, a new therapeutic approach has made hope for patients with basalioma: photodynamic therapy with a sensible skin cream and cold red light. What sounds scientifically complicated is easy for patients. The cream is applied one millimeter thick after removal of the crusts of the tumor for three hours. Subsequently, the spot is irradiated with a so-called cold red light for a maximum of 10 minutes.

In the cancer cells, free oxygen radicals form through a chemical reaction that kill the cells. Occasionally, this can lead to a rash or a slight burning sensation. The treatment is performed in two sessions every seven days. Even with a certain variant of the spinal biome, this treatment has proven itself.

Spinalioma - spiny cell cancer

The Spinaliom, the spiny cell cancer, like the basal cell carcinoma belongs to the so-called "bright" skin cancer. This name is intended to distinguish these cancers from "black" skin cancer, malignant melanoma.

With around 20, 000 new cases a year, it is much less common than basal cell carcinoma, but can be far more dangerous. The spiny-cell layer (stratum spinosum) is, viewed from the inside to the outside, the second of the five layers of the epidermis, ie the epidermis. From the stratum spinosum the name "Spinaliom" is derived.

Emergence of the spinalioma

The development of malignant growths is caused by genetic changes as well as chronic damage to the skin. Because of its superficial position, the spinaliom could theoretically be noticed early.

The transition from chronic pre-damage to cancer, however, often goes unnoticed. The tumor initially looks like a deadly knot that bleeds easily but does not cause pain. Later, the node then transforms into an ulcer. It often develops on the lower lip, in the oral mucosa or in the genital area and can cause both lymph node and distant metastases.

Diagnosis and treatment

As with the basal cell carcinoma, the diagnosis of the spinal biome can often be made due to the typical skin changes.

After a histological examination, the tumor is generally removed as early as possible and radically surgically removed. This also applies to suspicious lymph nodes. If surgery is not possible, the patient will be treated with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

Melanoma: black skin cancer

Melanoma, also called "black skin cancer", is due in 90% of cases to the effects of UV rays. Especially since melanoma often develops after many years from liver spots, an annual investigation of high-risk patients is essential. This includes fair-skinned, freckled children who spend a lot of time in the sun and whose families have liver spots.

Although sunscreen protects against sunburn, the cream offers no protection against liver spots. According to studies at the University Skin Clinic Tübingen, it has been found that long-sleeved clothing is best used as a light protection against the sun.

Check liver spots regularly

According to the experts, the education campaigns of recent years have proven to be successful. The increased motivation of the German citizens to have their skin examined for suspicious liver spots is not in contradiction to the rising number of cases. The German Cancer Aid advises especially light-skinned, blond or red-blond skin types, once a month to check for abnormal skin lesions.

At least once a year, a dermatologist should take a look at liver spots and other skin changes. He can recognize conspicuous skin symptoms and carry out a consistent treatment and observation.

The ABCD rule

Particularly helpful is the so-called ABCD rule has proven. Following the criteria of asymmetry (A), border / margin (B), color / color (C) and diameter (D), liver spots are assessed:

  • A: Early melanomas often have an asymmetrical shape, so the aspect of asymmetry is an early warning sign of melanoma.
  • B: With jagged or fringed edges, many early melanomas are prominent, so special attention is paid to the edges during an exam. Often the dermatologist also uses a magnifying glass to help.
  • C: The dark blue, often black color (color) gives the melanoma its name. Liver spots, which suddenly become much darker, are therefore considered particularly suspicious.
  • D: Skin lesions that grow very fast and have a diameter of more than 2 mm should always be checked.

In the clinic, these criteria are often added to another point. With E attention is paid to the grandeur of the skin lesion.

All four criteria are assigned a score between zero and eight. From the sum, a value is calculated which, for a value above 4.75, makes a melanoma very likely. In this case, the tumor is immediately removed radically and widely.

Bad prognosis in melanoma

The prognosis for melanoma patients is good only in the early stages of development. Melanomas are extremely malignant and can metastasize very quickly.

In addition to the conventional treatment methods, possible vaccinations, the treatment of superficial skin metastases with the help of a cream that is applied to the skin and causes cell death in melanoma cells, come to the fore. However, no research approach has yet brought a decisive breakthrough.

Therefore, dermatologists still recommend avoiding sunburns and long unprotected sun exposure. Long-sleeved clothing, sunhat and goggles are just as much a part of the protection as the timely application of a sunscreen with an appropriate sun protection factor. Visiting the solarium only increases the risk of skin cancer and does not improve the photosensitivity of the skin.

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