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Watch out for Spots on Your Skin!

Many of us hate skin pigmentation, especially beauty-loving ladies. Many people have experienced the trouble of brown or black spots suddenly appearing on their skin, which may be caused by sun exposure, hormonal changes, etc. 


The important point is that we should never underestimate these new spots, as they may be the signs of underlying disease, and even potential precursors of cancer. High-risk groups should particularly pay more attention to their skin condition, including: people who do not adopt sun protective measures, work and stay under the sun for a long time, seldom stay under the sun but occasionally expose to strong sunlight, live in regions with high ultraviolet indexes such as Australia and Southern Africa, experienced sunburn in childhood, and those with white skin, blue or green eyes, or many naevi on their body.

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Advanced practice nurses in the U.S. classify dark spots and naevi in the following categories:

  • Congenital naevus

Some call it a birthmark. It can vary in size, shape and colour. If the naevus affects appearance, it can be removed by surgery at the age of 10 to 12. Those that are larger in size may become malignant (4~6% possibility) in adulthood.


  • Common naevus

Naevus developed after birth is mostly circular or oval in shape, looking flat or with a raised round surface, and is unicolour (brown, black or red, etc.). Common naevus is less likely to change in its appearance. It is usually smaller than 0.6 cm and may have hair grown atop. People with more than 50 common naevi on their bodies suffer from a higher risk of skin cancer, but they rarely become cancer.


  • Atypical naevus

Atypical naevus usually appears on the human torso, neck, head and scalp, and is less likely found on the face. Benign atypical naevus and melanoma (skin cancer) have some characteristics in common, therefore it is advised to receive regular examinations to prevent skin cancer. The common characteristics of atypical naevus are changes in the size of spots, naevi or freckles, irregular shape, uneven outline, differing and mixed colours, bumpy surface, a size larger than 0.6 cm, and unhealed sore. These are all precursors of skin cancer. It is estimated that 1 in every 10,000 atypical naevi will turn into cancer, which occurs more in people with brighter skin and frequent exposure to the sun.

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If you identify any abnormal changes in the dark spots, blemishes or naevi on your skin or body, you must seek help from doctors to determine the likelihood of cancer and facilitate prompt treatment.


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