Operating couch for operative dermatology in the rooms of the dermatological private doctor's practice in Frankfurt. Malignant skin changes, precursors such as melanoma, carcinoma, actinic keratosis, conspicuous moles, fibroids, cysts are removed here.

Black skin cancer and its precursors

Pigmentation in the form of moles

Pigmentations in the form of birthmarks can be found on every human body. Most of these birthmarks are benign and change minimally throughout life. So-called congenital nevus cell naevi can already be found after birth and over the years new birthmarks keep appearing. Rarely, these change to malignant tissue proliferation. However, when this is the case, it is called skin cancer.

Forms and Causes

  1. Malignant melanoma: If the mutation affects the melanocytes, i.e. the pigment-forming cells, this tissue change is called “black skin cancer” or “malignant melanoma”. Risk factors are genetic predisposition, strong sunlight and age. The skin type is also relevant.
  2. Dysplastic nevus cell naevi: These are moles that are changing and can represent precursors of black skin cancer. There are certain characteristics that should be checked dermatologically to determine whether the change is questionable.


The diagnosis is made with the help of the dermatoscope and the microscopic reflected-light camera. This gives our dermatologists the opportunity to assess skin changes magnified 70 times. The birthmark is thus represented optically in the detail of its pigmentation. In the case of rapid changes, unusual pigmentation and other circumstances such as itching or bleeding, the birthmark is completely surgically removed and sent to a dermatohistological laboratory for tissue analysis.


If it is a matter of dysplastic nevus cell nevi, i.e. the preliminary stages of a cell change, regular control of all birthmarks and associated photo documentation is recommended. Risk factors that promote the development of melanoma should be avoided first and foremost. Once black skin cancer has been diagnosed, the therapy depends on the histological assessment, i.e. the stage. A post-excision, i.e. operating on the site again, with a larger safety margin on all sides and examining the surrounding lymph nodes and other organs to rule out metastasis are standard. Drugs or radiation are rarely used.

A medical assistant at the practice of Dr. Dötterer-Rieg and colleagues point to a conspicuous skin change on the back of a patient, which could also be melanoma. A diagnosis of the skin area will determine it.
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