Malignant melanoma, also known as black skin cancer, is the most malignant skin cancer. Black skin cancer often forms secondary tumors (metastases). Every year, around 20, 000 people in Germany become ill. The number of melanoma patients is currently doubling every ten years. More than 2, 000 people die each year from this disease. Unlike basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, whose development depends on a total UV dose taken over many years, short, intense UV exposure seems to be the cause of malignant melanoma.
Who belongs to the risk group?
The highest risk factor for malignant melanoma of the skin is the number of pigmentation marks present (on the whole body). People with more than 40 pigment marks or atypical pigment marks carry a 7- to 15-fold higher risk of developing malignant melanoma. Sunburns in childhood and adolescence increase the risk of getting black skin cancer by two to threefold.
In addition to UV irradiation, genetic predisposition also plays a role. Persons with a light skin type (especially skin types I and II), with reddish or blond hair, with a tendency to freckles, sun spots or familial malignant melanoma, have a more than 100-fold increased risk, depending on the combination of risk factors Life to develop a black skin cancer.
Malignant melanomas may look like harmless pigment marks at first glance. However, they can be recognized as malignant by a closer look at the ABCD rule. They occur to 80 percent of normally clad body parts and can also occur on the hairy head, under fingernails and toenails as well as on the soles of the feet.
If a malignant melanoma is suspected, eye-catching pigment marks are removed by the dermatologist and examined for fine tissue. If the suspicion is confirmed, the treatment of malignant melanoma depends on the tumor thickness. In particular, people between the ages of 40 and 50 are diagnosed with malignant melanoma. But also twenty-year-old patients with malignant melanoma are no longer a rarity today due to the changed behavior of the sun.