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Dermatology

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Melanoma (skin cancer)

Malignant melanoma is a cancer that originates in melanocytes (cells that give the skin its colour). This form of skin cancer is less common than basal-cell or squamous-cell carcinoma but has a higher mortality rate. Melanoma is a curable cancer when detected at an early stage. However, diagnosis in advanced stages worsens the prognosis. Malignant melanoma most often affects people with fair skin, but it is not exclusive to this group. This tumour not only affects the skin but can also appear in the mucosas, eyes, and in the digestive tract. Certain risk factors for the development of melanoma have been identified: people with blond or red hair, fair skin, light-coloured eyes, multiple moles, frequent exposure to the sun, sunburn (especially during childhood), a family history of malignant melanoma, and immunosuppression, among others. Changes in existing moles, or the appearance of new pigmented lesions (especially after the age of 30), should be examined by a dermatologist. The clinical signs to watch out for are: a change in the size, shape or colour of existing moles, spontaneous bleeding, itchiness or pain. The best action to take against melanoma is PREVENTION. Once diagnosed, the chances of curing it are very high in patients with incipient melanomas. At the Dr. Javier Bassas Dermatology Centre we provide our patients with an excellent assessment and diagnosis of pigmented lesions, through visual and dermoscopic examination. If atypical or malignant lesions are detected we offer the appropriate early surgical treatment, with ‘no waiting list’.