- Thanks to early diagnosis, most skin cancer cases can be curable
Valencian Community, June 17, 2019. Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia and Centro Médico Quirónsalud Alicante are collaborating with the Euromelanoma Campaign, providing free mole examinations from June 25 to 28 in Valencia, and June 26 to 28 in Alicante. Those interested in undergoing these examinations must request a prior appointment at 960 019 852 in the case of the Valencia hospital centre, and on the website www.euromelanoma.org or at 915434535 in the case of Centro Médico de Alicante.
Every year, 5 thousand new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Spain, together with 75 thousand non-melanoma skin cancer cases. “Melanoma is the skin cancer with the worst prognosis. However, if it is detected early, there is an 80% probability of curing it,” assures Doctor José María Ricart, Head of the Dermatology Service at Quirónsalud Valencia and the Instituto Médico Ricart, “additionally,” he adds, “complete information about melanoma is the most important prevention measure, since anticipating diagnosis reduced the possibility of it becoming mortal by almost 90%.” The dermatologist insists on the importance of having annual check-ups, since estimates show that four out of every ten Spaniards will get skin cancer at some point in their lives.
The symptoms presented by this type of skin cancer appear as an alteration in a pigmented lesion, which experiences a change in size, colour or shape. As el Doctor José Carlos Pascual, Coordinator of the Dermatology Service at Centro Médico de Quirónsalud Alicante explains, “we use the “ABCDE” rule to detect possible skin cancer: A is a reference to asymmetry of the mole, B stands for irregular borders, C means several colours in the same lesion, D is a diameter above 6 mm, and E, perhaps the most relevant characteristic, evolution, in other words, the presence of changes in the mole over the course of weeks or months.” Doctor Pascual recommends performing self-examinations periodically, and in case of any doubts, consulting a specialist.
The physical examination performed by specialist physicians is currently the best mechanism for early detection of melanoma. As Doctor Ricart states, “a dermatologist has tools that increase diagnostic precision, such as dermatoscopy, which allows us to observe the microscopic structures of moles. In addition, in patients with multiple atypical moles, it is essential to have body photographs, due to which following up in the long term is essential, as it enables very close and careful control of the moles each person presents.”
The specialists at Quirónsalud recommend avoiding sun exposure during the hours of highest radiation, and alert about the consequences of sunburns, “because skin may forgive, but it doesn’t forget.” This is why they recommend always using an adequate sunscreen for each skin type, re-applying it every two or three hours, drinking lots of water, and wearing certified sunglasses and adequate clothing. The sun is the main risk factor for developing the disease. Doctor Pascual explains that having suffered more than three sunburns during childhood multiples the risk of melanoma appearing.” People with multiple moles or with a family history of melanoma are also at greater risk.
Spanish dermatologists have participated in this European campaign for the detection and awareness of skin cancer since the year 2000. At a European level, at least 33 countries intervene in Euromelanoma, and so far, over 450,000 free examinations have been provided.
High Effectiveness of Mohs’ Surgery in the Treatment of Skin Cance
The Dermatology Service at Hospital Quirónsalud Valencia is part of the small number of centres that remove skin tumours using Mohs’ Micrographic Surgery, which allows for an immediate examination of the scope of the lesion. “For the performance of this surgical technique,” explains Doctor Ricart, “the dermatologist extracts the tumour tissue and reconstructs the area; the pathologist analyses it through the microscope in order to identify all the cancer’s roots, and detect possible residual tumours that require further resection.” This surgery achieves a high percentage of healing, while also avoiding the destruction of healthy tissue.