Skin Health and Skin Cancer Prevention Blog

Detection of malignant melanoma

Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous of all skin cancers. Furthermore, it is occurring more and more frequently. What is really shocking is the fact that among people between 20 and 29 years of age, malignant melanoma is one of the most common cancers. The average age of onset for women is 59, which is lower than the average age for men at 67.

Important: Melanoma can occur on any part of the skin. For men it is very often on the torso, for women more often on the arms and legs. Melanomas can basically be newly formed or develop from an already existing birthmark or mole. Congenital moles also have a certain risk of degenerating into black skin cancer.

The more birthmarks there are, the greater the risk.

Especially in the case of malignant skin diseases that develop visibly on the outside, regular self-observation offers a great chance of detecting cancer at such an early stage that it can be cured before it spreads and becomes life-threatening.

The following six signals can indicate malignant melanoma

• A birthmark is clearly darker – up to brown-black or black in colour; it stands out clearly from other birthmarks..
• A birthmark is irregular in shape and/or colour.
• A birthmark changes colour, becomes lighter or darker.
• A birthmark has already reached a diameter of 2 mm.
• After years of inactivity, a birthmark suddenly grows visibly again.
• You feel an existing or new birthmark – for example because it burns, itches or even bleeds.

To detect malignant melanoma early, it also helps to assess birthmarks according to the so-called ABCDE rule.

E Elevation

Asymmetry means that a conspicuous birthmark is not uniformly round or ovalin shape.
Border means that a conspicuous birthmark has a blurred, as if washed out, border. A birthmark should have a sharp and regular border.
Colour means that a birthmark must be observed more closely if it has several shades of colour.
Diameter means that a birthmark must be observed in any case where the diameter is greater than 2mm.
Elevation means that a birthmark must be observed more closely if the height is more than one millimetre.

If you notice a change on your skin, it is important to see a dermatologist. In addition to the annual birthmark check, we recommend checking skin changes and birthmarks at least once a month with the SkinScreener app. SkinScreener is suitable for detecting skin changes that show signs of malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. SkinScreener is based on a highly innovative algorithm that uses artificial intelligence to ensure accuracy of over 95%. This value can be compared with experienced dermatologists. Download SkinScreener for free from your app store on your smartphone and regularly examine conspicuous skin changes.



Stiftung Deutsche Krebshilfe: Die blauen Ratgeber, Hautkrebs