Skin lesions represent a large and very diverse group of skin conditions. They may appear in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and range from harmless skin tags to deadly skin cancer.

The team at Patrick County Family Practice in Stuart, Virginia, offers comprehensive evaluations of your skin, followed by safe and effective skin lesion removal when needed.

What is considered a skin lesion?

A skin lesion is a part of the skin that has an abnormal growth or appearance compared to the skin around it.

Two categories of skin lesions exist: primary and secondary.

Primary skin lesions are abnormal skin conditions present at birth or acquired over a person’s lifetime.

Secondary skin lesions are the result of irritated or manipulated primary skin lesions. For example, if someone scratches a mole until it bleeds, the resulting lesion, a crust, is now a secondary skin lesion.

Common types of skin lesions include:

• Acne
• Rashes
• Freckles
• Moles
• Skin tags
• Lipomas
• Age spots
• Seborrheic keratoses
• Dermatofibroma
• Epidermoid cyst

These lesions are generally harmless with one exception, moles, which can turn into melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.

Skin lesions and skin cancer types:

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from natural sunlight or a tanning bed is the leading cause of skin cancer. Cumulative exposure to UV light throughout your lifetime is usually the cause of basal cell and squamous cell cancer, while blistering sunburns before the age of 18 are a common culprit of melanoma when you get older.

Skin cancers produce a variety of skin lesions depending on the type of cancer, including:

Basal cell carcinoma – This is the most common type of skin cancer, and may look like a red patch of skin, a flesh-colored bump, or an open sore.

Squamous cell carcinoma – The second most common type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma begins as actinic keratosis, which is a crusty or scaly lesion. At first, the lesions are benign, but with ongoing sun exposure, they become cancerous. When the lesions develop cancer, they turn into red spots that may bleed.

Melanoma – Melanoma is the least common skin cancer, which is good because it’s more likely to spread and become difficult to treat. This is the type of cancer that usually develops from an existing mole, although it may cause a new mole-like lesion.

When a mole becomes cancerous, its appearance changes. Moles that get larger or change their shape or color should always be examined by specialists like the team at Patrick County Family Practice.

When should I have a skin lesion removed?

After closely examining your skin, the team at Patrick County Family Practice removes any lesions if they suspect cancer or precancerous changes. Skin lesions are removed when they’re infectious as well. For example, warts are caused by a virus that can spread to produce additional warts and are therefore removed.

The team also removes skin lesions when they cause pain, discomfort, itching, or bleeding, and you can choose to have a harmless lesion removed when it affects your appearance.

How are skin lesions removed?

The team at Patrick County Family Practice have years of experience removing skin lesions using several methods. Your lesion may be shaved off or removed using an excision, cryotherapy to freeze the lesion, or topical medications that target some types of lesions.

Find out whether your skin lesions are harmless or cause for concern or if you’d simply like an unattractive lesion removed, call Patrick County Family Practice or schedule an appointment online today.