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Melanoma: Prevention is needed 365 days a year

Let’s not turn around, let’s start with the bad news: the melanoma cutaneous is skin cancer more aggressive affecting an average young population compared to most other solid neoplasms: in the population under 50 years of age it is the second most common cancer in men (after that of the testicle) and the third in women (after those of the breast and thyroid).

In Italy, the incidence of melanoma has increased in an important way in the last ten years: for 2020 14,863 new cases have been estimated (+ 20% compared to 2019), of which 8,100 for men and 6,700 for women. About 170,000 people live in our country today (80,069 men and 89,831 women) with a previous diagnosis of melanoma.

The other bad news is that lately the Italians have neglected prevention of melanoma, as a survey conducted last March by Doxapharma and promoted by Novartis: in 2020 almost 80% of respondents did not consider it important to schedule a visit for the mapping of moles, 43% said they had never had a screening, and among those who were used to periodically check themselves, the frequency decreased . Only 7% planned a mole check in the following months.

The survey found that the share of people who declare they know melanoma well and that of those who consider early diagnosis essential to increase the chances of recovery has also decreased.

Hence, the importance of raising awareness on the issue and prevention on a continuous basis, not only during the summer, before the summer. That’s why the campaign is back “Beyond the skin – Prevention at the center” – promoted by Novartis, with the patronage of: Italian Melanoma Intergroup (IMI), Italian Society of Medical, Surgical, Aesthetic Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (SIDeMaST), Italian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists, Italian Hospital and Public Health (ADOI), Italian Association Malati di Melanoma (AiMa.Me), Melanoma Italia Onlus (MiO), Associazione Pazienti Italia Melanoma (APAiM), Emme Rouge Onlus and MelanomaDay – and it does so in the winter period.

This year, the “Beyond the skin” campaign has a huge goal: to go out of awareness “only” once a year, usually in May before the summer, but to communicate that prevention is important and necessary 365 days the year.

Before the summer it is important to provide all the information necessary to adequately protect the skin, but also and especially after it is necessary to check possible damage caused by incorrect exposure to the sun and in general during the rest of the year it is necessary to check any appearance of suspicious moles.

«To effectively combat melanoma it is important to adopt correct behaviors from an early age, such as expose yourself to the sun always applying a high protection and only in certain time slots, and periodically carry out the control of moles – says Dr. Francesco Cusano, director of the dermatology unit of the AORN San Pio di Benevento – PO “G. RUMMO “and president of ADOI – The first step in the prevention process isself evaluation. In case of new suspicion it is advisable to contact your doctor and then the dermatologist for a visit “.

As part of the “Beyond the skin” campaign, starting in November, the series of informative meetings with the experts will begin, followed by free screenings for the prevention of melanoma, including the examination ofepiluminescence, that is a non-invasive test that allows to examine in depth the pigmented formations (lesions) of the skin, or moles, to recognize tumors early, in particular melanoma.

The first stage took place on November 17 at the San Pio di Benevento, now it will follow November 27 in Rome at the IDI. To participate in the meetings and make the free visits, reservations are required: all the details are available on the website www.oltrelapelle.it in the dedicated section “Let’s talk together”.

The ABCDE rule for the self-assessment of moles

There is a rule called ABCDE, which helps remember what to look out for:

A for Asymmetry in form (a benign mole is generally circular or roundish, a melanoma can be more irregular); B as Irregular edges; C as Variable Color; D for Size increasing, both in width and in thickness; E like Evolution of the mole, that is, if it changes appearance in a short time.

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