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Heat is coming - watch out for warning signs of melanoma



Heat is coming - watch out for warning signs of melanoma

May is the melanoma awareness month, and it is also the time when many portuguese, women and men, go on their first beach days of the year. To properly prevent and avoid skin cancer, be aware of the first signs and know what you should be doing to reduce the risk of its development.

In Portugal, there are about 1700 new cases of melanoma every year, and this number is rising. This form of skin cancer - which is the most dangerous of all - results from the accumulation of mutations in skin cells, which are responsible for pigmentation (melanocytes). Prolonged exposure to solar radiation can lead to the uncontrolled growth of these cells, thus constituting a melanoma.

In most cases, it presents itself as a new skin mole, or you may notice a previously known mole changing its shape,size or color. They are usually dark in color (brown, black or bluish-black), with an abnormal appearance, but can vary widely. Their growth can lead to dissemination through the lymphatic vessels and thus cause metastases to the lymph nodes and other organs. Despite the seriousness of this cancer, there are several innovative treatments and it is curable.

Therefore, it is fundamental to know and be aware of the first danger signs, in order to start treatment as soon as possible and thus improve the chances of cure. Check for new signs, with suspicious appearance, or changes in size, shape, color or texture of an existing sign - ABCDE (A - Asymmetry, B - Border, C - Color, D - Diameter > 6mm, E - Evolving). It is also important to pay attention to wounds that take a long time to heal.

If, when observing your skin, you have any doubts, do not hesitate and consult your dermatologist - it is absolutely essential to consult an experienced professional to decide whether a sign should only invoke more attention or if it requires immediate removal. At the Centro Oncológico da Pele of Joaquim Chaves Saúde, you will find an experienced and multidisciplinary team dedicated to the treatment of melanoma and other skin tumors, with access to the most accurate and advanced diagnostic methods.

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