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Skin Growths

People often become concerned when they suddenly notice a growth on the skin. Such skin growths are made up of many cells massed together so that they look different to the normal surrounding skin. They are often identified by their darker color although some skin growths remain the same skin tone as the surrounding area.

Malignant and Benign Skin Growths

One of the first things people will worry about when they notice a skin growth is whether it is malignant or benign. Malignant means that the affected cells in the skin growth are cancerous. Benign is the complete opposite so a verdict of benign means you can be assured that the skin growth is not cancerous.

Types of Benign Skin Growths

There are many different skin growths but in spite of some of their long names, they are usually benign. These include dermatofibromas; dermoid cysts; freckles; keloids; keratoacanthomas; lopomas; moles and atypical moles; pyrogenic granulomas; seborrheic keratoses; and skin tags.

Benign Moles and Melanoma

Although moles are mostly harmless and benign, there are rare occasions when they can become cancerous. They are then known as melanomas.

Fortunately, there are definite signs to indicate that a mole could be a melanoma and should be seen by a doctor. Research even suggests that moles with 3 or more different shades of brown or black are particularly likely to be melanoma.

Here are the letters of the alphabet that make up the signs to look for when checking out any moles:

  • A for asymmetry meaning both halves of the mole should match.
  • B for border which should be regular and either round or oval.
  • C is for color and there should be just one color, including lightening or darkening.
  • D is for diameter which should be less than a ¼ inch (no bigger than a pencil eraser).
  • E is for elevation so that any mole should not be raised too much above the surface of the skin nor have an uneven surface.

It is always important to have moles or other skin growths checked by a dermatologist or medical professional before starting any treatment. 

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