Skin lesions are common and affect millions of Americans – nearly no one has
skin completely free of blemishes, moles or other lesions. Although some lesions
are or can become cancerous, the vast majority are non-cancerous. Usually,
doctors and patients use the ABCD rule to assess the probability of cancer. If a
mole does not present asymmetry, irregular borders, inconsistent color or a
large diameter, it is often labeled to be most likely benign.
Making a Diagnosis
When a dermatologist identifies a skin lesion, the next step is to determine whether it is cancerous, pre-cancerous or benign. Often, a professional assessment can be made with nothing more than a physical examination. However, if a particular lesion appears to be changing or showing other signs of malignancy, a dermatologist may order a skin biopsy for a thorough histological review of the skin cells.
Some of the most common types of non-cancerous lesions include: Benign moles, Psoriasis, Seborrheic keratosis, Skin tags, Freckles, Lipomas, Angiomas, Dermtofibromas, Ketoids, Epidermal inclusion cysts, Sun spots (although could be pre-cancerous in some circumstances).
Remember, although most skin growths, moles and lesions are harmless and non-cancerous, it is important to seek the professional advisement of an experienced dermatologist regarding an unusual skin blemishes. Few lesions require treatment, but some seemingly harmless areas may prove to be pre-cancerous or malignant. Others may indicate the presence of an underlying health condition, such as diabetes, liver disease or hormonal imbalances.
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