CDA Expert Series | ACD Chronique des experts – Dr. Harvey Lui on Melanoma

CDA Expert Series | ACD Chronique des experts – Dr. Harvey Lui on Melanoma


(gentle music) – Hi, I’m Harvey Lui,
certified dermatologist, and I practice in Vancouver. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer, and it’s actually the most
serious form of skin cancer. Melanoma is increasing in incidence, and it’s a serious cancer
because it’s the type of cancer that develops on the skin, and then, if it’s not
detected soon enough, it has a very high chance of spreading inside the body, and once that happens, the chance of it harming you and killing a patient is very high. More than 90% of melanomas
are actually caused by ultraviolet light from the sun. You know, the sun has powerful
rays that it can emit, and these powerful rays, you can’t see them and
you can’t feel them, but they’re very harmful to you. So, when the sun is brighter, that’s when there are more UV rays. Those UVA rays are powerful
enough to reach your skin and damage the DNA in your skin, and when you have damaged DNA, that’s what leads
ultimately to skin cancer. The delay between when the damage occurs and when the cancer shows
up can be many, many years. We have this guideline in
dermatology called the ABCD rule, and it’s a very useful way of trying to remember what you should be looking for if you’re worried about melanoma. A stands for asymmetry. You know, does the overall
shape of that spot look even, or, is it kind of, one part of the spot looks different from another? So, is it asymmetric? B stands for border. Is the border nice and smooth, or, is the border very irregular? C stands for color. Is it a nice, uniform color, or, are there multiple different
colors within that spot? And then, D stands for diameter. The bigger the spot, the wider the diameter of the spot, the more concern we have. So, if you have a spot that’s asymmetric, has an irregular border,
the colors are uneven, and it’s a larger diameter, then we need to be concerned that it might be a melanoma, and those are the things
you need to look for in order to detect the
warning signs of melanoma. In addition to the basic
ABCD rule, there’s also an E, and E stands for evolution or evolving. If you have a spot or
a mole that’s changing, that’s evolving, then that may have a higher chance of being a melanoma. We know it’s preventable, so, step one is to minimize the exposure of your skin to those harmful UV rays. We’re not saying that you
can’t go out in the sun. We’re just saying that you
have to do it sensibly. So, that’s step one. Step two is to be aware
of your skin so that if you actually have
sustained damage to your skin, then you become aware of the warning signs when melanoma shows up. You catch it at an early stage. The absolute key to melanoma
management is getting it early. If you can get it early, then you can remove it and be cured. If you wait and delay and
don’t heed the warning signs, that’s when the melanoma
can grow and spread and go inside you, and
unfortunately, shorten your life. So, if you’re regularly
checking your skin, and then you find a spot, and you go, hm, I think this might have
one of the ABCDE features, you know, it’s asymmetric,
the border’s irregular, something about the color,
it’s a large diameter, and it’s changing, if any
of those features are there, then that’s the time to go
see your family physician or see a doctor who’s comfortable
with looking at moles. See a doctor who is used
to looking at moles, used to evaluating patients, has experience with skin cancer. Get them to check out your skin. That’s the next step. That’s when you’re gonna have a biopsy, and a biopsy means that that
mole is removed surgically. It’s a simple procedure, and then, that piece of tissue, that piece of skin that’s removed is sent to a lab to be tested, and then, the pathologist will review it, check if there are melanoma cells. If the biopsy is positive, then you’ll be told the diagnosis, and then, additional
surgery may be necessary in order to make sure that any microscopic bits of melanoma that may still be in your
skin are totally removed. And then, once that’s done, your chance of cure is very high.

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