Carcinoma, melanoma: watch for suspicious spots

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Carcinoma, melanoma: watch for suspicious spots


These very common forms of the disease often follow massive unprotected sun exposure during his youth. They represent 150 new cases per year in France per 100,000 inhabitants. Some carcinomas are diagnosed from the age of 50, others from 60/65 years, both in men and women. Those called basocellular represent 70% of cutaneous cancers: they are the least serious because their development remains local (basal layer of the epidermis). They do not metastasize and their early treatment ensures healing. Squamous cells, which appear especially after 60 years, are rarer (20%), but more aggressive. They have the ability to invade the lymph nodes and spread to other organs (metastases).
How to recognize them? 80 to 85% of cutaneous carcinomas develop in areas exposed to the sun: face, back, hands. Most often, they form a firm, well-defined, smooth nodule that may be reminiscent of a cyst or lesion on the skin that extends very gradually. But only the examination of the dermato followed, if necessary, by a biopsy (taking a sample for analysis under a microscope) can confirm this.

What solutions? The basic treatment includes a biopsy to remove the entire lesion and a healthy area around the perimeter to ensure removal of all cancer cells. When he suspects squamous cell carcinoma may migrate to the lymph nodes, the doctor performs a clinical examination with ultrasound.


These malignant tumors - the most dangerous - of the cells of the skin, intimately again linked to solar radiation, increase considerably in France (10% of skin cancers). They affect more than 8 in 10 people per 100,000, or 6,000 new cases per year, and women have a slightly higher risk (60% of cases). Nearly half of melanomas are in people over 60, but the average age at diagnosis is decreasing!
How to recognize them? Almost 8 times out of 10, melanomas result in an irregular brown or black patch on the neck, torso, legs, which gradually widens over time. In the presence of a suspect spot identified by the ABCDE test, it is necessary to consult quickly because the more melanoma is detected early, the more likely it is to remove it before it has had time to make metastases and migrate to other organs.

What solutions? Complete excision of the lesion and a surrounding healthy area is inevitable with sometimes the combination of immunotherapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Depending on the size of the tumor, it is planned or not a skin graft. When the tumor is no longer only localized in the skin, it is sometimes necessary to perform the removal of the ganglia, supplemented by a treatment with interferon, a molecule that stimulates the patient's immunity against melanoma and fatigue enormously.

Read also :

⋙ Melanoma: removal of lymph nodes would have no impact on patient survival

⋙ The sun is not alone responsible for melanoma

⋙ Melanoma: more risk for young people with matte skin

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