Skin lesions – benign and malignant                                       

Most people have skin lesions of one sort or another, from moles to skin tags and cysts. Skin lesions are classed as either benign, meaning they are non-cancerous and unlikely to spread from their initial site, and malignant, which means they are cancerous and characterised by progressive, uncontrolled growth.

Benign lesions are usually only removed if they cause irritation or interference due to their location or size, or if considered unsightly. A malignant skin lesion is determined by a biopsy – where the lesion is removed and tested in pathology. If a lesion is malignant, a larger section of skin from the lesion site is removed, to ensure no cancerous cells remain, because of their potential to spread.

Skin tags are small protruding flaps of skin that may look like warts and usually grow near the groin, on armpits, neck and eyelids. They are usually either cut off with a scalpel, frozen off or burned off.

Moles are formed by a cluster of melanocytes (cells that give skin its colour) and are usually brown or black. Most moles appear in childhood but can also appear later in life, and it is common for a person to have between 10 to 40 moles by adulthood. Moles change slowly over the years, with some becoming raised or changing colour. Most moles are benign, but if a mole changes shape or colour, bleeds or becomes itchy, it should be checked for possible malignancy. Moles are removed by cutting out with a scalpel and the remaining skin stitched together. This results in a small scar, which should fade with time.

Lentigines are also formed by a cluster of melanocytes, but unlike moles, they are mostly confined to the upper skin layers, and are generally frozen off, lasered off or faded with topical retinoids. Cysts are sacs filled with fluid, skin debris or fatty material and develop in various places in the body. Their removal is generally the same as for moles.

Removal of skin lesions is usually a minor procedure, but it also depends on the size and location of the lesion. Mr Kode will determine the best method of removal in consultation with you.

Our expert team is here to help you. Please contact them to schedule an appointment.