As summer approaches some of us will face an increased risk of skin cancer caused by long exposure to the sun.
Moles, spots, or blemishes are known medically as melanocytic lesions and in some occasions can turn into deadly malignant melanoma.
Skin cancer is the most common human malignancy and its incidence has been increasing in the last decade. Within the general category of skin cancers, melanoma constitutes the main cause of death. According to the latest statistics, cutaneous melanoma is currently the sixth most common type of cancer in Europe, with more than 144.000 new cases diagnosed in 2018.
Fortunately, melanoma may be cured if treated at an early stage. Mortality increases with increasing growth into the skin. More than 90% of melanoma patients are still alive after 5 years, if treated early. If distant spread of cancer cells has occurred (metastatic melanoma), the proportion of patients alive after 5 years may be 30% or lower. For these reasons, rapid diagnosis is essential to ensure treatment is undertaken before local and metastatic spreading occur.