What are skin lesions?
A skin lesion refers to an abnormal growth on the skin or a patch of skin that does not look like the area around it.
What are the types of skin lesions?
Skin lesions can be classified as:
- Primary skin lesions: are variations in colour or texture of the skin, like moles or birthmarks. They may be present at birth but may also appear later in life, such as warts, acne or psoriasis.
- Secondary skin lesions: refer to changes in the skin condition caused by the primary skin lesion, resulting from a natural progression or from scratching or picking at the skin.
You may suddenly notice a new mark on your skin and wonder where it came from. Why did it appear? We will help you find a possible answer to your questions and understand the basics of skin lesions.
What are the indicators of skin lesions?
Below we list some symptoms that may suggest that your primary skin lesion has progressed to a secondary lesion or even a cancerous one:
- Change in colour of the lesion (especially getting darker or exhibiting multiple shades)
- Change in shape of the lesion (especially with irregular edges)
- Change in size of the lesion (getting larger)
- Displaying three different shades of brown or black
- Change in elevation of the lesion (thickening or raising of a flat mole)
- Itchiness, pain or bleeding (maybe even forming of a scab)
- A loss of symmetry (common moles will be perfectly round or oval and are usually symmetrical)
Possibility of skin cancer
Abnormalities of the skin may also indicate some form of skin cancer. They could be new growths on the skin or precancerous lesions, changes in the skin that could eventually lead to cancer.
What are the types of skin cancer?
Following are the different types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma – may appear as a pearly or waxy bump or a flat, flesh-coloured or brown-coloured scar-like lesion. It is usually seen to occur in sun-exposed areas of the body, like the neck or face.
- Squamous cell carcinoma – may appear as a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface. It occurs most often on the face, ears and hands, the areas of the body that face exposure to the sun.
- Melanoma – can develop on otherwise normal skin or in an existing mole that becomes cancerous later. It can develop anywhere on the body. With men, it occurs typically on the face or trunk. Among women, it often develops on the lower legs.
Below are some signs of a melanoma:
- Dark lesions on the palms, soles, fingertips, or toes or mucous membranes lining the mouth or nose
- A large brownish spot with darker speckles
- A small lesion having an irregular border and parts that appear red, white, blue or blue-black
- A mole that changes colour, size and feel or that bleeds.
The ABCDE method of identifying cancerous growths:
Dermatologists recommend the ABCDE method for identifying moles or lesions that could be at risk of being complicated. It is found to help decide whether you need to visit a physician to get your skin condition examined or not. The ABCDE method can be used to identify most melanomas, if not all. The letters stand for:
A – Asymmetrical Shape: While benign moles are usually found to be symmetrical, melanoma lesions are often irregular or asymmetrical.
B – Border: Non-cancerous moles typically have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions tend to have irregular borders that are difficult to define.
C – Color: Benign moles are usually found to be a single shade of brown or tan. Melanoma lesions may have more than one colour (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.), or the distribution of colour may be uneven.
D – Diameter: Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimetres in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).
E – Evolution: The evolution of your mole(s) is the most crucial factor to consider when diagnosing a melanoma. Only you would know what is normal for you. If you notice any recent changes in the colour/size of your mole, you should consult your physician immediately.
We have qualified and experienced physicians who will be happy to help you with an examination and treatment options. If you have any bothersome skin conditions, do not hesitate to call us and set up an appointment.
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