Due to the pandemic, Italians have been less attentive to prevention, but early diagnosis is essential: we explain why
Five letters. The first of the alphabet. Keeping them in mind can literally save our skin, because they indicate the characteristics to check in a mole and therefore lead to the early diagnosis of melanoma. A stands for asymmetry of the mole, or its non-uniform growth. B stands for edges: in melanoma they are jagged, as opposed to a normal mole. The C indicates the color and remembers how multiple shades of color can be present in a melanoma (brown, black, red, white). The D reminds you to pay attention to the dimensions, especially if the diameter of the lesion exceeds 6 millimeters, and it grows progressively. The E finally signals that a mole changes in its aspects, that is its evolution, or if it grows high (elevation). Obviously we are talking about general information. Above all, it is important to check the situation regularly with the dermatologist. Unfortunately, also thanks to the pandemic, it seems that the Italians have lost a few hits in the basic checks for an early diagnosis of the most serious skin cancer.
What is it about?
According to a survey conducted by Doxapharma, Italians in the last year have been less attentive to the early diagnosis of this and other diseases, also due to the impact of Covid-19. As many as seven out of ten people have changed their attitude towards health following the health emergency: almost 80% of respondents did not consider it so important to schedule a visit for the mapping of moles.
A worrying phenomenon considering that melanoma is the cancer for which the greatest increase in diagnoses has been recorded in recent years. "Melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer linked to the transformation of melanocytes, responsible for skin color and tanning, on apparently healthy skin or the modification of a pre-existing mole – says Ignazio Stanganelli, Director of the Clinical-Experimental Center of Oncodermatology – Skin Cancer Unit of the Tumor Institute of Romagna (IRST) IRCCS, Associate Professor of the University of Parma and President of the Italian Melanoma Intergroup (IMI). We know that one of the main risk factors is exposure to sunlight and sunburn, especially at a young age. It is important to increase knowledge of this cancer because, although research in recent years has given us new effective and targeted tools, prevention remains the most powerful weapon we have ".
An awareness campaign
To remember the importance of skin control, the campaign "Beyond the skin – Prevention at the center" is underway. The goal is to bring attention back to this aspect and allow citizens to learn more thanks to a rich program of activities with information and tools useful for knowing and preventing melanoma and the possibility of interacting with experts and associations of patients, possibility to ask dermatologists and oncologists questions through the Facebook page @OltreLaPelleMelanoma, a community that has been active for over a year.
"The people at risk of developing melanoma are those with light skin and green / blue eyes, many moles, and a familiarity with melanoma and are also those who need to undergo more regular clinical checks, even if the control of moles should become a healthy habit for everyone – comments Ketty Peris, Full Professor of Dermatology, UOC Director of Dermatology, Director of the School of Specialization in Dermatology and Venereology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart – Agostino Gemelli University Hospital Foundation IRCCS Rome and President of the Italian Society of Dermatology – SIDeMaST ".
Prevention can really make a difference: if diagnosed in its early stages, in fact, melanoma can often have a favorable prognosis and require only surgical removal. On the other hand, its management becomes more complex when the diagnosis occurs at a more advanced stage, despite the therapeutic options have increased and improved compared to a few years ago.
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