Slowly healing wounds indicate skin cancer

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Every second German will develop an early form of white or light skin cancer in his or her life

In Germany, more and more people are contracting white skin cancer. Especially people who do their work outdoors should pay more attention to signs. According to the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, the number of people affected has risen sharply in the past 20 years. Especially in the early stages it looks inconspicuous and harmless, like a scratched mosquito bite. Changes are most noticeable on the face and forearms. If a wound is still not healed after four weeks, a visit to the doctor is recommended. "Every non-healing area belongs to a dermatologist," says Professor Hans Drexler from the German Society for Occupational Medicine and Environmental Medicine (DGAUM).

Sun is the greatest source of danger White skin cancer, like black skin cancer, is caused by UV radiation from sunlight. People who work unprotected under the sun, for example in road construction or as fitters, are particularly at risk. The cancer often occurs in places that are heavily exposed to the sun. In addition, people with fair skin are more at risk than those with dark skin type. Going regularly under the solarium favors the disease.

Every tan is a skin damage "Every type of tan is a skin damage," explains Jessica Hassel from the Dermatooncological Outpatient Clinic in the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT). As soon as the sun's rays hit the skin, the substance melanin develops. It is responsible for the brown coloring of the skin. At the same time, the genetic material of the skin cells is also damaged. This can lead to skin cancer.

Sunscreen does not protect against harmful radiation Those who use sunscreen are only protected against sunburn. Pre-tanning in the solarium is also not recommended. Pre-tanning exposes you to increased UV exposure, which can lead to skin cancer.

How can white skin cancer be recognized? As the cause of white skin cancer, doctors have identified chronic damage to the skin from UVB and UVA radiation. Indications can be, for example, reddish or yellowish spots, which are often incorrectly identified as "age spots". Other signs of white skin cancer can also be poorly healing, scaly areas of the skin or hardening and thickening of the skin. Any abnormality should definitely be examined by the family doctor.

Early stage skin cancer can be treated well If white skin cancer is discovered early, ointments can be successfully used to combat it. After application, the affected skin area is additionally treated with light therapy. This accelerates the metabolic process in the skin cells, which attacks the cancer cells. If larger areas of the skin are affected, the tissue can only be removed by surgery.

In contrast to aggressive black skin cancer, white skin cancer rarely forms metastases, but "the cancer cells penetrate the entire tissue and large areas have to be removed during the operation," explains Petra Boukamp, ​​head of the genetics department of skin carcinogenesis at the DKFZ. The cancer literally eats into the skin, and the faces are often disfigured by surgery because scars are inevitable.

Regular skin screening is important Regular skin screening is recommended in order to detect a change early on. Whole body skin screening is paid by statutory health insurance companies every two years for people aged 35 and over. (fr)

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Video: Skin cancer education

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