ABCD of Melanoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous and lethal type of skin cancer. Melanoma is less common form of  skin cancer  than others but it causes majority of death then other form of skin cancer. The survival rate for melanoma is directly related to early detection. If it is detected early it can be treated and cured. If the cancer has already advanced and spread to other parts of the body than it is most dangerous and difficult treat and death may occur.

So it is critically important to understand and learn to see and detect the early signs of melanoma. You can perform a self skin examination from head to toe for any sign of melanoma. While doing the self skin examination you should remember the “ABCD rule of melanoma”. This can help you detect any changes in your skin lesion or moles which will help early diagnosis of melanoma so it can be treated effectively and cured. Follow the following ABCD of Melanoma.

ABCD of Melanoma:
Asymmetry: Look for any asymmetry of the lesion, which means if the shape of one half doesn’t match the other, then there is a problem.
Border: Check the border or edges of the lesion. If the border of the lesion is rough, irregular or blurred, then its time to immediately visit your doctor.
Color: Check for the color of the lesion or mole. If the lesion has variation of color like black, tan, brown, red and blue, it could indicate a problem.
Diameter: Melanomas are usually larger then 6mm which is around the size of the eraser on a pencil.
Evolution: In addition to above ABCD, you also must pay attention to evolution. Remember if the mole has changed over time.

So, if you remember and follow the above ABCDE rule of melanoma, it will help in early detection of melanoma and can be treated easily and cured.

Remember: When doing self skin examination do not forget to see the back (your partner can assist you), because many of the melanoma cases have been diagnosed on the back too.

If you find any suspected lesion after going through ABCDE of the lesion immediately consult your dermatologist. It is wise to visit a dermatologist for any suspected lesion as early as possible. Don’t try to diagnose it yourself just by following ABCDE rule.

Halo Nevus

A halo nevus also known as leukoderma acquisitum centrifugum, is a common benign (non-cancerous) skin disorder which is characterized by a pink or brown mole surrounded by a ring of depigmented skin. Halo nevus usually develops during childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. Although these lesions are harmless, one should always visit the dermatologist for confirmation. If a halo nevus develops in late adulthood, it may be the sign of existing melanoma.

Halo nevus can occur within any race or any gender. It can occur anywhere in your body, but usually seen on back and may be single or multiple. Initially the ring of pale skin may surround the existing mole. After several months or years the mole becomes pink or less pigmented and fades away on its own, while the area surrounding the mole may persist long. Finally, the affected area will gradually returns to its original color. In many of the cases the affected depigmented area may not return to its normal color.

Though the cause is still unknown, halo nevus is thought to be due to immune response  against melanocytes. The appearance is so distinctive of halo nevus, diagnosis in not difficult. But, as halo nevi are associated with various skin disorders like vitiligo, existing melanoma and risk factor for melanoma, dermatological consultation is strictly necessary. Your dermatologist will make sure it’s non-cancerous by taking a sample for a biopsy.

Usually, halo nevi are harmless and self-limiting, so, treatment is not required. If the lesion is problematic for you, it can be removed along with the surrounding halo. Consult your dermatologist for further suggestion.

It is important to monitor the lesion on regular basis. If there is some changes in the appearance of the existing halo nevi or any other moles in your skin or any symptoms like itching, pain, infection at the site, you should immediately consult your doctor to exclude the possibility of cutaneous melanoma.

As the skin surrounding halo nevus has no protective melanin pigment, you should always avoid long term sun exposure and always apply sunscreen, especially during summer.

Effect Of Global Warming On Skin Disorder

Global warming is a gradual increase in the average temperature of the earth’s near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. It is the most current and widely discussed topics that might lead to ultimate end of existence of earth and and human being.

Global warming is directly or indirectly impacting on our lifes, including rise in sea levels, melting of ice,  and is responsible for significant changes in worldwide climate. Expert have agreed that melting of ice glaciers could release fungi, bacteria and virus incorporated during the freezing process that have been lying dormant for several thousands years that people might have thought have been eradicated already. Heat could make common virus develop strains to which people have no resistance and increase in the ranges of disease vector. This article will discuss the degree of impact and risk factors caused by global warming to our skin.

Ultraviolet Radiation:

Although Sun is the main factor for the existence of life on earth, but scientist believe that continue depletion of ozone layer has significient negative inpact on our skin too. Ultra violet rays are subdivided into three categories depending on their wave lengths, UVA-400-320 nm; UVB-320-290 nm; UVC-290-200 nm. Among all UVB radiation is by far the most harmful radiation that directly affect the skin causing different pigmentation disorder and increase risk of skin cancer. As ozone layer control the radiation, but recent depletion of ozone layer has increased the chances of many skin disease. Scientists believe that increase of temperature by 2% for a long-term due to changes of climate, might increase the carcinogenic effect of ultraviolet radiation by 10%.

Effects of Solar UVR on the Normal Skin The effects of UVR on skin can be classified into 2 caterogies depending on the duration of exposure .

Acute exposure:

Acute over exposure to Solar UVR might cause sunburn also called erythema. The redness of skin in sunburn is due to increase blood content of the skin due to the dilation of the superficial blood vessels in the skin. Excessive exposure might also results in blistering, swelling and peeling. It is estimated that UVA radiation contributes about 15-20% of sunburn reactions though it is less harmful than UVB. Another effects of exposure to UVR is tanning which is darkening of exposed skin due to UVA and invisible radiation. Immediate tanning can be noticed within 5-10 minutes and normally fades within 1-2 hours. Delayed tanning can be noticed after 1-2 days of sun exposure and persist for weeks to months.

Chronic Exposure

Chronic exposure to UVR might result in aging of skin normally called photoaging. Dryness, deep wrinkle, skin furrows, loss of elasticity, sagging, pigmentation and telangiectasia are the most common symptoms observed. Another common risk factors of Chronic exposure to UVR is Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer ( NMSC) . Most common form of NMSC are Squamous cell carcinoma ( SCC) and basal cell carcinoma ( BCC). BCC accounts for about 80% of all NMSC. Its is estimated that each 1% loss of total ozone layer have 3%-5% increase risk of skin cancer. It is believed that the increase in incidence of Melanoma is due to the changing pattern of sun exposure.

Impact of global warming in Sebaceous Glands and Acne:

The ideal temperature of  a human body is around 98.2°F.  Sweat glands and Sebaceous glands are heat sensitive and rapidly produce their secretions. As the temperature rises the activity of sebaseous glands increases resulting is over production of sebum, as a result sebum with dead cells together clogs the hair follicles and finally acne breakouts occur. Other oraganism like Staphylococcus and Streptococcus can colonize human in warmer climate resulting in many skin diseases which they cause.

Finally, We all should understand that global warming is a real serious issue which is affectiving us and our life directly on indirectly whether its environmental or medical. The solution is within us to stop this devastation by educating ourself and others with self awareness and health education.

Increased Incidence Of Skin Cancer Among Asian Living In Singapore

A Journal published at “Journal of the American Academy of dermatology” concludes that Incidence of skin cancer among peoples of singapore has increased from 1968 to 2006 and especially among older chinese.

The incidence rates of skin cancers in Caucasian populations are increasing. There is little information on skin cancer trends in Asians, who have distinctly different skin types. So this articles focus to study skin cancer incidence rates and time trends among the 3 Asian ethnic groups in Singapore.

These data of skin cancer were analyzed from the Singapore Cancer Registry from 1968 to 2006 using the Poisson regression model.

The data reports that there were 4044 reported cases of basal cell carcinoma, 2064 of squamous cell carcinoma, and 415 of melanoma. Overall skin cancer incidence rates increased from 2.9/100,000 in 1968 to 1972 to 8.4/100,000 in 1998 to 2002, declining to 7.4/100,000 in 2003 to 2006. Among older persons (?60 years), basal cell carcinoma rates increased the most, by 18.9/100,000 in Chinese, 6.0/100,000 in Malays, and 4.1/100,000 in Indians from 1968 to 1972 to 2003 to 2006. Squamous cell carcinoma rates among those aged 60 years and older increased by 2.3/100,000 in Chinese and by 1/100,000 in Malays and Indians. Melanoma rates were constant for all 3 races. Skin cancer rates among the fairer-skinned Chinese were approximately 3 times higher than in Malays and Indians, who generally have darker complexions.

Although appropriate population denominators were used, lack of data from 2007 could have affected the results for the last time period, which comprised 4 instead of 5 years.

Adapted from the article provided by Journal of the American Academy of dermatology

Risk Of Melanoma Is Related To The Pattern Of Sun Exposure

In a study to assess the risk of melanoma in relation to its  tumour site and latitude, it was shown that risk of melanoma  at different body sites is associated with different amounts and patterns of sun exposure. Recreational sun exposure and sunburn are strong predictors of melanoma at all latitudes, whereas measures of occupational and total sun exposure appear to predict melanoma predominately at low latitudes.

They performed a pooled analysis of 15 case–control studies (5700 melanoma cases and 7216 controls), correlating patterns of sun exposure, sunburn and solar keratoses (three studies) with melanoma risk. Pooled odds ratios (pORs) and 95% Bayesian confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Bayesian unconditional polytomous logistic random-coefficients models.

The Followings Were The Findings From Study:

  • Recreational sun exposure was a risk factor for melanoma on the trunk and limbs, but not head and neck, across latitudes.
  • Occupational sun exposure was associated with risk of melanoma on the head and neck at low latitudes.
  • Total sun exposure was associated with increased risk of melanoma on the limbs at low latitudes, but not at other body sites or other latitudes.
  • pORs for sunburn in childhood were 1.5, 1.5, and 1.4 for melanoma on the trunk, limbs, and head and neck, respectively, showing little variation across latitudes.
  • Presence of head and neck solar keratoses was associated with increased risk of melanoma on the head and neck and limbs.

As a conclusion study showed that Melanoma risk at different body sites is associated with different amounts and patterns of sun exposure. Recreational sun exposure and sunburn are strong predictors of melanoma at all latitudes, whereas measures of occupational and total sun exposure appear to predict melanoma predominately at low latitudes.

Adapted from materials provided by: International Journal of Epidemiology

Self Skin Examination For Early Detection of Melanoma

Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer and its incidence is doubling every 10 years. Currently 1 in 60 individual will develop melanoma as per US data. With the changes in ozone layer, some predict this incidence will increase sharply in near future. The survival rate of melanomas is directly related to early detection.  So it is critically important for peoples to have a good understanding of early detection and prompt prevention and treatment of  melanoma.

As melanoma is a type of skin cancer so it usually start with lesion on your skin. It can be easily detected at an early stage by yourself with a self skin examination. By checking the skin regularly for any suspected lesions on your skin increases the chance of finding melanoma early. People who have risk of melanomas could do a routine monthly Skin self-examination. Skin self-examination from head to toe for any  signs of melanoma, including changes in existing moles and the development of new moles is the most effective way for early detection of melanoma. Follow the ABCD of melanoma while examination.

Here is how to perform a Skin self-examination:

  • With your clothes off, stand in front of a full-length mirror in a well-lighted room. Use a hand mirror to see your back, arms, underarms, buttocks, legs and other hard too see areas.
  • Start with the scalp and face  and go downward, checking your head, neck, shoulders, chest,back, and so on. Use a comb or a hair dryer to help move hair so you can see the scalp and neck better.
  • Don’t forget to check for your nose and lips, cause  these areas have righ risk of squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas.
  • Don’t forget to check your front, back, and sides of the arms and legs.
  • Check your finger nails and palm and also  foot soles and toes and toe nails.
  • If you have moles, be sure where your moles are and how they look. If you check your skin regularly, you will be familiar with how your moles look like.
  • Look for any signs of change in moles , you can take a picture of your moles and compare over time. Look for a change in outline of a mole, its shape and size or color (especially a new black area). Also, look for any new and  unusual or suspicion lesion.

If you suspect any abnormal changes in moles or any spots that doesn’t heal over time immediately consult your doctor or a dermatologist.

If you have any questions regarding melanoma ask us at our Skin Care Forums Here

Any Doubtful Non Itchy Painless Mass Could Be Skin Cancer

When cells of the skin multiply in a haphazard manner,they form small masses on the skin, and these are known as skin cancer.

There are mainly three types of skin cancer. The most common are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma present ulcerated masses on the lower half of the face, while basal cell carcinoma are skin coloured, pearly white or coloured masses on the upper half of the face. Both can be cured by surgical method.

Melanoma, on the other hand, is the most lethal cancers. They are like coloured moles, which grow repidly,can bleed,are itchy or change colour. They have to be excised very early. Any doubtful lesion or mass on the skin which doesn’t itch, painless has to be checked to rule out skin cancer.

Skin cancer is diagnosed clinically and confirmed by histopathological examination. If you have doubt or if you suspect of skin cancer it is better to consult a dermatologist as soon as possible for quick management and treatment.