Detecting Skin Cancer: Prevention, Early Detection, Skin Cancer Screening

So-called black skin cancer is now the fifth most common cancer. Younger people are also increasingly affected. If you recognize cancer early, the chances of recovery are good. And you can contribute a lot yourself – for example with regular self-examinations. How they work and when you should definitely consult a family doctor -Detecting Skin Cancer: Prevention, Early Detection, Skin Cancer Screening.

So-called black skin cancer is now the fifth most common cancer. 

Black skin cancer (malignant melanoma) is the fifth most common cancer – and the number is rising. Often young people are already affected.


If the malignant melanoma is detected early and can be surgically removed before it has spread, the patient has a good chance of recovery.

Self-examination – this is how it works!

Skin cancer and its precursors are visible and palpable. Regular self-examinations can therefore help to detect skin changes at an early stage. Feel and search your body bit by bit about once a month.

In order not to miss any changes in the skin, the self-examination should be carried out in daylight. Areas of skin that are difficult to see can be examined with the help of a mirror. Alternatively, the partner can help.

Don’t forget: The skin between the fingers and toes and on the soles of the feet should also be inspected, as well as the scalp under the hair.

Black skin cancer (malignant melanoma) in a close-up view image rights: imago images/image broker

Beware of birthmarks and moles

Particular attention should be paid to the so-called pigmented paints. This means birthmarks or moles. They are usually harmless, but under certain circumstances, they can develop into malignant skin tumors.

If a mole that has remained the same for years changes or if new moles appear, you should definitely consult a dermatologist.

Checking the mole: ABCDE rule

The ABCDE rule helps to correctly assess a mole. If at least one of the characteristics applies, a dermatologist should be consulted. If a mole changes size, color, or shape, or if it starts to itch or bleed, it is even necessary to hurry.

Basically, if you notice abnormalities that unsettle you, it is better to have them checked unnecessarily than to take the risk that skin cancer will be detected too late.

A – for asymmetry: a (new) dark patch of skin that is irregularly shaped

B – for border: a dark patch of skin with blurred contours, jagged, uneven or rough edges

C – for color: a patch of skin with different colors, lighter and darker areas

D – like diameter: a patch of skin with a diameter larger than 5 mm at its widest point

E – like elevation: a patch of skin that protrudes more than a millimeter above the skin level and has a rough or flaky surface

Statutory insurance is entitled to a skin cancer screening by a dermatologist every two years.Image rights: imago images / Panthermedia

Professional examination: skin cancer screening at the dermatologist

From the age of 35, those with statutory health insurance are entitled to skin cancer screening every two years. The costs for this are covered by the health insurance company.

The screening aims to identify the three skin cancers malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma as early as possible and thereby improve the chances of recovery. Screening is a complement to self-examination.

Detecting Skin Cancer: Prevention, Early Detection, Skin Cancer Screening
If you want to prevent skin cancer, you should avoid strong sunlight.Image rights: imago / Paul von Stroheim

The best skin cancer prophylaxis: Avoid exposure to the sun!

The following applies to all types of skin cancer: The safest protection is to avoid excessive exposure to the sun. This is especially true for employees who work a lot outdoors.

UV protective clothing or at least long clothing, sun hats, and goggles, as well as sun cream with a sufficiently high sun protection factor, should not be missing when going into the sun.

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