Discovering a tumor on your skin without being able to identify if the skin growth is benign skin tag or malignant growth (melanoma) can be frustrating and worrying. You want to avoid getting anxious and possibly depressed over nothing. In the same vein, you don’t want to unknowingly harm yourself by assuming the tumor you have is a skin tag when it is melanoma.
The end result of such assumption could prove fatal to your health as the tumor could have caused irreversible changes to your body. More reason why you need to stop such growth from becoming fatal. And you can only do that with the right diagnosis.
Fortunately for you, we would be discussing how to distinguish between skin tags (the common type of benign skin growths) and melanoma in this post.
How To Distinguish Between A Skin Tag and Melanoma
Detecting if the tumor on your skin is benign or malignant can be difficult to diagnose on your own without the help of a doctor.
In a situation where you are wondering if the growth on your skin have is a skin tag or a melanoma, there are simple checks to help you identify skin tags. By identifying skin tags, you can rule out its possibility of the growth being a melanoma.
Skin tags are usually a cosmetic issue. It poses no risk to your health whatsoever. Melanoma, on the other hand, can be a symptom of a bigger health issue like cancer. In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know in differentiating a skin tag from a melanoma.
How To Correctly Identify A Skin Tag
Friction is believed to be the primary cause of skin tags on the body. When you think of the areas where skin tags tend to appear the most, you’ll realize the belief isn’t far from the truth. Skin tags tends to form in areas such as the neck, the groin area, eyelids and the armpits. From observation, genetics, obesity and hormonal fluctuation have also been considered to play a role in the formation of skin tags on the body.
Attributes / Characteristics of A Skin Tag
They are soft and fleshy growths
There are mostly small but can grow large to the size of a grape
Their color is usually the same as your skin color. They might also turn a shade darker which is very common to skin tags deprived of oxygen,
Their presence doesn’t cause any sort of pain except when irritated.
They are not contagious. Hence, you can’t infect someone who doesn’t have a skin tag.
How to Correctly Identify a Melanoma
Melanoma is malignant (cancerous) in nature. Not dealing with this skin condition from the onset could have a fatal implication where your health is concerned. Malignant tumors, if left untreated, could affect your health long term.
Melanoma is often mistaken for a mole, which is also a skin condition although a benign one.
Attributes / Characteristics of Melanoma
A sudden appearance of skin tumor
Irregularities / unusual changes to the size of an existing growth
Darkening of the skin
Skin tumor with irregular borders.
Are Dark Skin Tags a symptom of Cancer?
If you’ve noticed your skin tags turning dark or black suddenly, this could be as a result of oxygen deprivation. When blood flow to the skin tags is cut off, the tissues are deprived of oxygen which leads to its discoloration.
You should expect the skin tag(s) to fall off in about 12 days to a month. If the skin tags don’t fall off, you should have out checked out immediately by a doctor. A doctor will attempt to diagnose the tumor and perform a biopsy if a closer inspection yields no result.
Pulling at your skin tags or attempting to twist them in a bid to tear them off could lead to irritation. This could cause the skin tags to change its form or characteristics and be confused with skin cancer.
Treatment Options For Skin Tumors
Treatment Options For Skin Tags
Skin tags are harmless and require no treatment except when they become a cosmetic issue or make you uncomfortable. Ligation, cryotherapy, cauterization, excision, and asphyxiation are all treatment options that can be used for getting rid of skin tags.
Treatment Options For Malignant Skin Tumors (Melanoma)
We recommend you don’t attempt to treat a skin tumor if you think it’s malignant in nature. Always visit a doctor to diagnose what kind of skin growth you might have to be able to detect a malignant one and treat accordingly quickly.
You can use any of the treatment options or a combination of the following
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Imiquimod cream (Zyclara)
- Biochemotherapy (chemotherapy and immunotherapy)
Monitoring Your Skin Conditions and Early Detection of Skin Tumors
Checking your body always for lumps or bumps can help you detect a skin tumor in its early stage. This will prove critical and highly beneficial should the growth on your skin turns out to be a malignant one.
We recommend you don’t take for granted any new skin growth that sprouts out from your body. Early detection and treatment is the way to go. By detecting a skin tumor on your body and going for treatments, you reduce the chances of the tumors getting worse, should it be a malignant one.
The cost of treating a malignant skin growth at its early stage is also quite cheaper and less invasive. More reason while you want to ensure you catch a skin tumor before it degenerates.