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Do you know the ABCD rule?  How to detect skin cancer early.

Do you know the ABCD rule? How to detect skin cancer early.

  • fromVivian Werg


The number of skin cancer cases has been increasing for years – how can you check your skin for malignant changes.

Kassel – Cancer is a widespread disease. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. According to the German Cancer Help About 304,000 people are diagnosed in Germany each year. The number of diseases has been increasing exponentially for years. Overuse of UV rays is one of the most important risk factors for the development of skin cancer.

The cancer is more common in people who work outdoors, exercise, or sunbathe frequently. MSD Handbook According to them, people with fair skin are particularly susceptible to most forms of skin cancer because they produce less melanin. The protective pigment in the outermost layer of the skin, helps protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

However, most skin cancers are curable, especially if the cancer is caught early and treated early. The so-called “ABCDE rule” is often used to detect the first signs of skin cancer.

Early detection of malignant birthmarks: Regular check-ups are important in order to treat potential skin cancer at an early stage (icon)

© Imago

Skin cancer detection – with the ABCDE rule

like German Cancer Help Knowing that most of those affected develop light or white skin cancer, which rarely forms secondary tumors and is therefore relatively less threatening than black skin cancer, malignant melanoma. Therefore, it is important to monitor birthmarks and moles, the so-called pigment marks, and pay attention to changes in the skin. However, changes can also occur in areas of skin not exposed to the sun.

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The ABCDE rule can help better classify skin abnormalities. Each letter stands for a characteristic that a pigmented skin lesion, for example a mole, can have:

  • A for asymmetryCheck skin lesions such as moles to see if they are of a regular round or oval shape. If it is uneven, that is, asymmetric, you should consult a dermatologist.
  • b as limit: The edges of harmless birthmarks and pigment spots are sharply and smoothly defined. On the other hand, if the edges look washed out, jagged, uneven and/or jagged, an examination by a dermatologist is recommended urgently.
  • c like color: Look for a spot that is not evenly colored but mixed with pink, gray, or black dots. It indicates malignant melanoma and should always be checked by a doctor. The same goes for the crispy toppings.
  • d as diameter: If the diameter of the skin lesion is more than three to five millimeters or if the shape is hemispherical, you should consult a dermatologist as soon as possible.
  • E for greatness: If the mole protrudes more than a millimeter above the level of the skin and has a rough or scaly surface, this may also be a sign of skin cancer.
  • Source: German Cancer Society,

If at least one of the following characteristics applies, the mole should be shown to a doctor and examined as soon as possible. Basically, it’s better to have anomalies that bother you again than it’s too late. If an existing mole changes size, shape, or color, and begins to itch or bleed, see a dermatologist immediately, she advises. German Cancer Society.

Carcinogenic viruses: These pathogens can cause cancer

herpes virus;
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) belongs to the group of herpesviruses. According to the German Cancer Research Center (dkfz), EBV infection can certainly contribute to the development of B-cell lymphoma, a malignant disease of B-cell lymphomas. In medicine, lymphoma refers to malignant tumors of the lymphatic system. Epstein-Barr virus can also be detected in T-cell lymphomas (T-cell lymphomas), according to dkfz. © Imago
Stomach germ Helicobacter pylori
The stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori is said to carry a risk of stomach cancer. The interesting thing is: about a quarter of the German population already has it. Helicobacter is said to promote stomach ulcers, which can then develop into cancer. However, treatment with a combination of antibiotics and stomach acid blockers is very successful in most cases. © dpa
HIV: a woman who tied herself with a red ribbon
The Red Ribbon aims to highlight the issue of AIDS and HIV in society. Infection with so-called HI viruses (human immunodeficiency viruses) can lead to AIDS. According to the German Cancer Research Center, people with AIDS are more likely to develop cancer, possibly because they have a weakened immune system. © Oliver Berg/Dr
vaccination card
Hepatitis B promotes hepatitis. These can also develop into liver cancer. However, you can get vaccinated against this type of hepatitis by your family doctor. © Martin Wagner / Imago
Hepatitis C virus
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine (yet) against hepatitis C viruses. Aggressive pathogens are among the most common causes of liver cancer. As reported by the German Cancer Research Center, hepatitis C viruses are now also associated with other types of tumors: cholangiocarcinoma and multiple myeloma can also be promoted by infection, it is said. © CAVALLINI JAMES / Imago
human papillomavirus (HPV)
Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are usually harmless – but there are types that are carcinogenic and are said to cause cervical cancer. They are also suspected of promoting anal or penile cancer. However, there is also a highly effective vaccine that is supposed to help against all types of HPV. © CAVALLINI JAMES / Imago

Skin cancer: These factors increase the risk of developing the disease

Even if the ABCDE rule can provide the treating dermatologist with important information, experts recommend regular check-ups by a doctor. Only he can make the final diagnosis. like consumer center Since July 2008, there has been a national program for early detection of skin cancer. Thus, all those with statutory health insurance from the age of 35 are entitled to a free skin cancer examination at the doctor every two years.

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high MSD Handbook According to the study, your risk of developing skin cancer is higher if you:

  • I had frequent sunburns, especially in childhood and adolescence.
  • Go to the solarium regularly.
  • You have a lot of pigmented moles.
  • You have a weak immune system.
  • Has skin cancer previously occurred in your family.

Contrary to the assumption that artificial ultraviolet radiation from a solarium is healthier than natural radiation from the sun, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified natural ultraviolet radiation from the sun and artificial ultraviolet radiation from a solarium into the highest category of causative agents. for cancer. This means that it is classified as carcinogenic as tobacco.

Editor’s note:

The information in this article does not replace a visit to your doctor. Only experts can make the correct diagnosis and start appropriate treatment. You should discuss taking medications or nutritional supplements with your doctor beforehand.

You can greatly reduce your risk of skin cancer if you avoid strong sunlight (midday sun), use a sunscreen with adequate UVA protection while also paying attention to sun protection for your fabric. You should also not expose sunscreen to extreme heat – toxic substances can develop. Old sunscreens can also reduce the effectiveness of UV protection. If your sunburn occurs despite sunscreen, simple home remedies can help. Some treatments should be avoided if you have a sunburn. (Vivian Werg)

List of rules: © Imago