Dermatoscopy

What is dermatoscopy?
Dermatoscopy, which is also known as dermoscopy or epiluminescence microscopy, is the study of skin lesions with a dermatoscope. It is a fast, effective, painless and non invazive diagnostic method which aids in differentiating malignant and benign pigmented tumors, particularly used in the diagnosis of melanoma. Other cancerous lesions that can be diagnosed by dermatoscopy include angiomas, basal cell carcinomas, cylindromas, dermatofibromas, seborrheic keratosis and squamous cell carcinomas. Digital dermatoscopy, also known as video dermatoscopy, aids clinicians in monitoring potentially cancerous skin lesions. Digital images are taken, stored and compared with images from the patient’s next visit. If the lesion changes, it may require excision. If the lesion remains the same over time, it is most likely benign.

Who should get a skin check with a dermatoscope?
Dermatoscopy is recommended to all people that have moles (nevi), personal or family history of a skin cancer, people who had sun burns, people who use tanning beds or suntan and people who are sunexposed due ti their profession or hobbies. Moles that have changed color, borders and size as well as moles that spontaneously bleed need to be checked with dermatoscope.

How frequently should the moles be checked with a dermatoscope?
Once a year. If necessary follow-ups may be recommended more frequently.

Can dermatoscopy be done in pregnancy and babies?
Dermatoscopy is safe in pregnancy and babies. Dermatoscopy is painless and does not require special preparation.

How can melanoma be prevented?
The best news about melanoma is that many cases of skin cancer can be prevented by following these precautions:
Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even in winter or when the sky is cloudy.
You absorb UV radiation year-round, and clouds offer little protection from damaging rays. Avoiding the sun at its strongest helps you avoid the sunburns and suntans that cause skin damage and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Sun exposure accumulated over time also may cause skin cancer.
Wear sunscreen year-round. Sunscreens don't filter out all harmful UV radiation, especially the radiation that can lead to melanoma. But they play a major role in an overall sun protection program.
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you're swimming or perspiring.
Wear protective clothing. Sunscreens don't provide complete protection from UV rays. So cover your skin with dark, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs and a broad-brimmed hat, which provides more protection than a baseball cap or visor does.
Don't forget sunglasses. Look for those that block both types of UV radiation — UVA and UVB rays.
Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit UV rays and can increase your risk of skin cancer.
Become familiar with your skin so you'll notice changes. Examine your skin regularly for new skin growths or changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks.
With the help of mirrors, check your face, neck, ears and scalp. Examine your chest and trunk and the tops and undersides of your arms and hands. Examine both the front and back of your legs and your feet, including the soles and the spaces between your toes. Also check your genital area and between your buttocks.

Recommendation:

Schedule an appointment for dermatoscopy if you have or had had one or more of the following:
1. Sunburns in childhood or adult life
2. Skin cancer in family
3. Tanning bed use
4. Sun bathing habit
5. Atypic moles
6. Changing mole
7. A new mole
8. Bleeding of a mole
9. A scaly mole
10. Itchiness and pain on or around a mole
11. Mole in a place where it is frequently traumatized (eg.waistline, shoulders...)
12. A new spot on skin or mucosa
13. If you never had a mole check till now
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