Without being an expert, self-examination is often the answer to early detection of cancerous growths.
Any change in an existing skin blemish (pigmentation spot), whether it is the colour, circumference, size or thickness can be the first sign of a malignant melanoma.
Especially, any blemishes that raise their head in the form of a small spot or a little wound which appears to heal and subsequently reappears should draw your attention and should urge you to consult a specialist (epithelioma or carcinoma).
Detection by a specialized physician
Of all physicians, the dermatologist is the most qualified to detect cancerous skin conditions and to make a diagnosis.
Some dermatologists are moreover specialized in the detection, treatment and follow-up pf these illnesses.
The examination consists in a thorough inspection of the skin by means of a device called the ‘dermoscope’. This instrument is a magnifying glass with lighting which permits detection of any details which are not visible to the human eye.
This is a clinical, painless examination which takes about 20 minutes. After the examination, any suspect blemishes will be removed during the biopsy.
The biopsy is performed under local anaesthetic and consists in the partial or complete removal of the mark.
The purpose of the biopsy is to get a definite diagnosis. In certain cases the biopsy can be seen as treatment of the mark.
In other cases (e.g. a partial biopsy) the aim is merely to make a diagnosis and the results of the investigation will allow the dermatologist to suggest the appropriate treatment to the patient.