Benign Skin Lesions Growths And Conditions
A person may experience a wide range of different types of benign skin lesions during a lifetime and benign skin lesions are harmless. A few are present at birth, while others are acquired later in a persons life. Making the correct diagnosis of a skin lesion depends on the lesions characteristics and patient history.
A benign skin lesion may require treatment for cosmetic purposes or due to irritation. Possible treatments include cryotherapy, electrosurgery or excision. When the diagnosis is ambiguous, and a malignancy cannot be excluded, the lesion may be surgically removed and examined under a microscope .
Common non-cancerous skin lesions:
- Bowens Disease
Further in this article you will find explanations and pictures of some of the common types of benign skin lesions.
Keep in mind:
Remember that skin lesions should be diagnosed by a doctor.
Acne is a common skin disorder that develops when the pores become blocked by oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. When this happens, whiteheads, blackheads or pimples may develop and may appear anywhere on the body but most commonly on the face, neck, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders.
Acne is most common among adolescents and young adults. There are effective acne medications and treatments available, but acne may persist. Acne can surface on the skin both as multiple skin lesions or a rash.2
There are two types of freckles: ephelides and lentigines .3
What Do Skin Cancer Bumps Look Like
Skin cancer is a serious health concern, and helping patients diagnose and treat this condition is one of the most important services the board-certified dermatologists at U.S. Dermatology Partners provide. Because skin cancer can sometimes look like other types of benign skin lesions, its important to understand the common characteristics of both cancerous and benign skin lesions. According to Dr. John Jay Wofford of U.S. Dermatology Partners in Dallas, Plano, and McKinney, Texas, Many patients wonder if skin cancer can look like a pimple, mole, or other benign spot on their skin. And the answer is sometimes yes. Skin cancer may appear very similar to common skin lesions, so being informed about what skin cancer looks like is very important. Keep reading to learn more about how to identify common signs of skin cancer.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that can show up on the skin in many ways. Also known as BCC, this skin cancer tends to grow slowly and can be mistaken for a harmless pimple, scar, or sore.
Common signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma
This skin cancer often develops on the head or neck and looks like a shiny, raised, and round growth.
To help you spot BCC before it grows deep into your skin, dermatologists share these 7 warning signs that could be easily missed.
If you find any of the following signs on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist.
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Basal Cell And Squamous Cell Carcinomasigns And Symptoms
The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin, especially a new growth or a sore that doesnât heal. The cancer may start as a small, smooth, shiny, pale or waxy lump. It also may appear as a firm red lump. Sometimes, the lump bleeds or develops a crust.
Both basal and squamous cell cancers are found mainly on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun the head, face, neck, hands and arms. But skin cancer can occur anywhere.
An early warning sign of skin cancer is the development of an actinic keratosis, a precancerous skin lesion caused by chronic sun exposure. These lesions are typically pink or red in color and rough or scaly to the touch. They occur on sun-exposed areas of the skin such as the face, scalp, ears, backs of hands or forearms.
Actinic keratoses may start as small, red, flat spots but grow larger and become scaly or thick, if untreated. Sometimes theyâre easier to feel than to see. There may be multiple lesions next to each other.
Early treatment of actinic keratoses may prevent them from developing into cancer. These precancerous lesions affect more than 10 million Americans. People with one actinic keratosis usually develop more. Up to 1 percent of these lesions can develop into a squamous cell cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed skin cancer. In recent years, there has been an upturn in the diagnoses among young women and the rise is blamed on sunbathing and tanning salons.
- Raised, dull-red skin lesion
How Do People Find Bcc On Their Skin
Many people find it when they notice a spot, lump, or scaly patch on their skin that is growing or feels different from the rest of their skin. If you notice any spot on your skin that is growing, bleeding, or changing in any way, see a board-certified dermatologist. These doctors have the most training and experience in diagnosing skin cancer.
To find skin cancer early, dermatologists recommend that everyone check their own skin with a skin self-exam. This is especially important for people who have a higher risk of developing BCC. Youll find out what can increase your risk of getting this skin cancer at, Basal cell carcinoma: Who gets and causes.
Images used with permission of:
The American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2019 80:303-17.
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Basal Cell Carcinoma Signs And Symptoms
This type of cancer is usually found on sun-exposed areas of the skin like the scalp, forehead, face, nose, neck and back.
Basal cell carcinomas may bleed after a minor injury but then scab and heal. This can happen over and over for months or years with no visible growth, making it easy to mistake them for wounds or sores. They rarely cause pain in their earliest stages.
In addition to the bleeding and healing, these are other possible signs of a basal cell cancer:
- A persistent open sore that does not heal and bleeds, crusts or oozes.
- A reddish patch or irritated area that may crust or itch.
- A shiny bump or nodule that is pearly or translucent and often pink, red or white. It can also be tan, black or brown, especially in dark-haired people, and easy to confuse with a mole.
- A pink growth with a slightly elevated, rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center. Tiny blood vessels may appear on the surface as the growth enlarges.
- A scar-like lesion in an area that you have not injured. It may be white, yellow or waxy, often with poorly defined borders. The skin seems shiny and tight sometimes this can be a sign of an aggressive tumor.
Skin Cancer: Prevention Treatment And Signs Of Melanoma
17 October 14
One in five Americans develops skin cancer over their lifetime, making it the most common form of cancer. Fortunately it is also one of the most preventable, because sun exposure is a major factor in its growth, according to the American Academy of Dermatology .
âPeople of every skin color can expect that they will be at risk of developing skin cancer,â said Dr. Doris Day, a board-certified dermatologist New York City and an attending physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, also in New York. âBut the good news is, that if caught early, greater than 98 percent of skin cancers are curable, and sometimes not even with surgery.â
Actinic Keratosis Signs And Symptoms
Many people have actinic keratosis , also called solar keratosis, on their skin. It shows that youâve had enough sun to develop skin cancer, and it is considered a precursor of cancer, or a precancerous condition.
Usually AK shows up on the parts of your body that have received the most lifetime sun exposure, like the face, ears, scalp, neck, backs of the hands, forearms, shoulders and lips.
Some of the same treatments used for nonmelanoma skin cancers are used for AK to ensure it does not develop into a cancerous lesion.
This abnormality develops slowly. The lesions are usually small, about an eighth of an inch to a quarter of an inch in size. You may see a few at a time. They can disappear and later return.
- AK is a scaly or crusty bump on the skinâs surface and is usually dry and rough. It can be flat. An actinic keratosis is often noticed more by touch than sight.
- It may be the same color as your skin, or it may be light, dark, tan, pink, red or a combination of colors.
- It can itch or produce a prickling or tender sensation.
- These skin abnormalities can become inflamed and be encircled with redness. Rarely, they bleed.
Melanoma Signs And Symptoms
Melanoma skin cancer is much more serious than basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It can spread quickly to other organs and causes the vast majority of skin cancer deaths in the United States. Usually melanomas develop in or around an existing mole.
Signs and symptoms of melanoma vary depending on the exact type and may include:
- A flat or slightly raised, discolored patch with irregular borders and possible areas of tan, brown, black, red, blue or white
- A firm bump, often black but occasionally blue, gray, white, brown, tan, red or your usual skin tone
- A flat or slightly raised mottled tan, brown or dark brown discoloration
- A black or brown discoloration, usually under the nails, on the palms or on the soles of the feet
See more pictures and get details about different types of melanoma in our dedicated melanoma section.
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What Does Skin Cancer Look Like
Basal cell carcinoma
BCC frequently develops in people who have fair skin. People who have skin of color also get this skin cancer.
BCCs often look like a flesh-colored round growth, pearl-like bump, or a pinkish patch of skin.
BCCs usually develop after years of frequent sun exposure or indoor tanning.
BCCs are common on the head, neck, and arms however, they can form anywhere on the body, including the chest, abdomen, and legs.
Early diagnosis and treatment for BCC are important. BCC can grow deep. Allowed to grow, it can penetrate the nerves and bones, causing damage and disfigurement.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin
People who have light skin are most likely to develop SCC. This skin cancer also develops in people who have darker skin.
SCC often looks like a red firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that heals and then re-opens.
SCC tends to form on skin that gets frequent sun exposure, such as the rim of the ear, face, neck, arms, chest, and back.
SCC can grow deep into the skin, causing damage and disfigurement.
Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent SCC from growing deep and spreading to other areas of the body.
SCC can develop from a precancerous skin growth
People who get AKs usually have fair skin.
AKs usually form on the skin that gets lots of sun exposure, such as the head, neck, hands, and forearms.
Because an AK can turn into a type of skin cancer, treatment is important.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Make an appointment to see your healthcare provider or dermatologist as soon as you notice:
- Any changes to your skin or changes in the size, shape or color of existing moles or other skin lesions.
- The appearance of a new growth on your skin.
- A sore that doesnt heal.
- Spots on your skin that are different from others.
- Any spots that change, itch or bleed.
Your provider will check your skin, take a biopsy , make a diagnosis and discuss treatment. Also, see your dermatologist annually for a full skin review.
Can Skin Cancer Be White And Scaly
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Infiltrative basal cell carcinoma occurs when a tumor makes its way into the dermis via thin strands between collagen fibers. This aggressive type of skin cancer is harder to diagnose and treat because of its location. Typically, infiltrative basal cell carcinoma appears as scar tissue or thickening of the skin and requires a biopsy to properly diagnose.
To remove this type of basal cell carcinoma, a specific form of surgery, called Mohs, is used. During a Mohs surgery, also called Mohs micrographic surgery, thin layers of skin are removed until there is no cancer tissue left.
This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.
Superficial basal cell carcinoma, also known as in situ basal-cell carcinoma, tends to occur on the shoulders or the upper part of the torso, but it can also be found on the legs and arms. This type of cancer isnt generally invasive because it has a slow rate of growth and is fairly easy to spot and diagnose. It appears reddish or pinkish in color and may crust over or ooze. Superficial basal cell carcinoma accounts for roughly 15%-26% of all basal cell carcinoma cases.
Types Of Skin Malignancies:
- Melanoma the least common form of skin cancer, but responsible for more deaths per year than squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers combined. Melanoma is also more likely to spread and may be harder to control.
- Nonmelanoma malignancies:
These skin malignancies are typically caused by ultraviolet radiation from exposure to the sun and tanning beds.
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Melanoma On The Scalp
Melanoma, also referred to as cutaneous melanoma and malignant melanoma, is a kind of skin cancer that starts in the melanocytes. Melanoma is less common than other kinds of skin cancer. Melanoma is more likely to spread to other areas of the body if it isnt diagnosed and treated in the early stages.
One of the most significant signs of melanoma is a new lesion on the skin or a lesion that changes shape, color, or size.
Another significant sign is a lesion that looks different from the other spots on the skin . You can use the ABCDE rule as a self-assessment help guide to look out for signs of melanoma:
- Asymmetry One half of the mole doesnt match the other half.
- Border The border or edges of the lesion are irregular, blurred, notched, or ragged.
- Color The color of the lesion may not be consistent and could include various shades or patches of black, brown, white, blue, pink, or red.
- Diameter The lesion is larger than 6 millimeters in diameter .
- Evolving The lesion changes color, size, or shape.
Some melanoma lesions may not fit the above-mentioned rules. Other signs that could indicate a problem include:
- A sore that doesnt heal
- A new swelling or redness away from the border of the lesion
- Spreading of pigment from the lesions border into the surrounding skin
- Change in skin sensation including tenderness, itchiness, or pain
- Any change in the moles surface such as oozing, bleeding, scaliness, or a bump or lump
What You Can Do
If you have a history of unprotected UV exposure, live in a sunny location or have other risk factors, be on the lookout for any unusual changes in your skin.
Check yourself head to toe once a month: Keep an eye out for new or evolving spots or lesions that persist, grow or bleed. If you notice any warning signs, see a dermatologist. Learn how to check your skin here.
See your dermatologist every year for a professional skin exam. Having a specialist who is skilled at identifying and treating abnormal skin growths is vital to your health and wellness. Anyone who has AKs should be under a dermatologists care.
Practice sun-safe habits: A complete sun protection strategy is the single most effective way to reduce your risk of developing AKs. Avoid unprotected UV exposure. Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM, use a broad-spectrum /UVB) sunscreen and wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Skin Cancer Pictures: What Does Skin Cancer Look Like
Skin cancer images by skin cancer type. Skin cancer can look different than the photos below.
Skin cancer often presents itself as a change in the skins appearance. This could be the appearance of a new mole or other mark on the skin or a change in an existing mole.
Please remember that you should always seek advice from your doctor if you have any concern about your skin. Skin cancers often look different from skin cancer images found online.
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A Primer On Skin Cancer
Malignant melanoma, especially in the later stages, is serious and treatment is difficult. Early diagnosis and treatment can increase the survival rate. Nonmelanoma skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Both are common and are almost always cured when found early and treated. People whoâve had skin cancer once are at risk for getting it again they should get a checkup at least once a year.
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