Just a liver spot or skin cancer?

Liver spots occur when certain skin cells, called melanocytes, make the pigment Melanin. Melanin is also the substance that turns to a tan, the skin is brown. “A mole can be described as an unsuccessful attempt of the skin to protect against light radiation,” says Christoffer Gebhardt from the skin tumor center of the University hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf.

Colors and shapes

Liver spots are the most common benign changes in the skin, explains the expert. They occur in various colors – some are red-brown like the liver, some are black-brown or brown-yellow, the other blue, if you are deeper in the skin. Only very rarely does a liver spot degenerates to a malignant skin change can happen but it is not. Eye-catching patches are, therefore, a case for the dermatologist.

“Statistically, a malignant melanoma, so a black skin cancer develops only from each of the ten thousand most liver spot,” explains Gebhardt. Rule of thumb: The more spots, the higher the risk of cancer. “People, in their first-degree relatives – so parents or siblings have skin cancer and appeared to have a significantly increased risk of developing skin cancer.”

In Germany in the year, around 21,000 people, the diagnosis of black skin cancer, men and women affected equally often. On average, the victims are 64-year-old, if you get the diagnosis.

Liver spots are either present at birth or arise later. The exact cause of congenital naevi is unclear. Acquired moles – those that occur after birth or after the first two years of life – caused by a combination of hereditary predisposition and irradiation by UV-light. Usually this happens in childhood and adolescence. The so-called age spots are caused by increased UV-light exposure. People with lighter skin types generally have more liver spots.

The summer of no liver spots, but a category of its own sprouts. “You are volatile changes in the top layer of skin,” says Gebhardt. The effect know a lot of freckles-owner: With the end of the summer, the points will disappear again. Freckles are harmless, of no development of skin cancer.

The ABCDE rule

To judge for themselves whether a mole is normal or not, can be difficult. “The so-called ABCDE rule is an important Tool for the Prevention and can help liver-spots, assess,” says Katharina Schürings, a dermatology specialist in Düsseldorf.

A liver spot is examined on different characteristics:

  • Is he asymmetrical?
  • He has an irregular boundary?
  • He has a different Colorit? Because the more colors a Hautmal, the more suspicious it is. Its diameter is greater than six millimeters?
  • He lifts from the skin surface, i.e. it has a Elevation?

“Most of the times and a change in skin. Sometimes itching or oozing, you or form a scab,” explains Schürings. Who has identified a liver of a stain than a flashy or a Hautmal has, he is unsure, you should contact a dermatologist.

The statutory health insurance companies pay every two years for a skin cancer Screening for men and women 35 years and over. A targeted medical history and a visual whole-body examination belongs. Many health insurance companies cover the costs for such a Screening even earlier. If there is in these studies, evidence of a disease, this is usually at an early stage and with good chances of cure, treat, explains the leading Association of health insurance funds (GKV-spitzenverband).

If you suspect malicious modification, or even skin cancer, the entire mole is surgically removed. Conceivable and possible is also to remove a mole for aesthetic reasons. Sometimes moles are disturbing, since they are located at inconvenient Places – for example, under the bra or in the Waistband. The Affected should be kept in mind, however, that the scars to heal, in particular, in the center of the body only poorly, warns dermatologist Schürings. The healing of the face is mostly very good. Important: For the removal of such moles, the health insurance does not pay.

The biggest risk factor

“Our skin is a work-related sun and light weaned,” says skin cancer specialist Gebhardt. “In our spare time and on vacation many of your skin, but unprotected in the short term, high doses of sunlight.” The energy-rich UV radiation can destroy the genetic material of cells from the healthy skin stem cell, a cancer stem cell is then maybe.” In the past few years, the awareness about the dangers of excessive sun exposure and the importance of the right protection from the sun is increased, however, fortunately, so Gebhardt.

The most effective method of skin cancer, is to wear the correct sun protection: long clothing, sun cream hang up around lunch time to stay in the shade. “There is no healthy tan,” warns Schürings. “Tanning is always a protective mechanism of the skin.”