Each year, about 20,000 people in Germany are diagnosed with melanoma. This is, in contrast to non-melanoma skin cancer, due to a degeneration of pigment cells whereby the “black” color is created. However, a melanoma is not necessarily completely black. Also spots with various light and reddish brown zones are suspicious. They are often pigmented and checkered, show no boundaries and have lost their symmetry. Caution should be exercised in newly formed spots. Genetic factors, but especially long-term exposure to UV light is suspected to be the cause of skin malignancies. Also the number of moles (melanocytic nevi) increases the risk of developing a melanoma. A simple screening method can detect most of the new cases at an early stage and so avert an unfavorable course. From the age of 35 on, a biennial screening is recommended. In addition to that, you also have the opportunity to attend annual or biannual screenings and participate in our internal recall system to detect even small skin changes as early as possible. During your screening the entire body is scanned for suspicious moles and lesions. In my practice I use an imaging, computer-based method for cataloging your moles and to assess the progress for years to come. Optionally, suspicious moles can be removed surgically in our operating theatre. A subsequent histological examination is performed in an external laboratory.
For the treatment of pigmented birthmarks or suspicious skin lesions laser methods are permitted and considered malpractice. The evaluation of pigmented birthmarks and skin changes necessarily belongs in the hands of a dermatological specialist. Despite many years of experience I partake in training with a subsequent exam every year.