Skin tumors can be divided into two groups: benign (harmless) and malignant (cancerous). The benign group of skin tumors includes moles, fibromas, hemangiomas, seborrheic keratoses... It is possible to say that there is no adult person without one or more benign skin tumors.
Benign skin tumors (moles, fibromas) are often removed for esthetic reasons. There are several methods of removing benign skin tumors, such as electrocoagulation, excohleation, laser therapy, dermosurgical procedure and cryotherapy. The selection of method is based on the type of tumor, its size and its location.
Malignant tumors are, luckily, rarer - carcinomas and melanomas are the most common ones in this group. The term “skin cancer” is the synonym for all malignant skin tumors. Carcinomas are rather common and they usually develop later in life. Melanoma is rarer and it affects patients from 30 to 50 years of age. Basal cell carcinoma or basalioma is quite a common skin cancer. The treatment is not complicated if the tumor is not large. Basalioma mostly occurs on sun-exposed areas of the body.
Planocellular carcinoma (spinaliom) and melanoma represent more dangerous malignant skin tumors since they have the ability to metastasize (spread of a disease from one organ or part of an organ to another non-adjacent organ or part of it). If melanoma and spinaliom are recognized in the early stage of development, the disease is possible to cure. Sometimes it is not easy to recognize skin cancer. There is a basic ABCDE Rule used to recognize a melanoma (Asymmetrical skin lesion, Border of the lesion is irregular, Color: melanomas usually have multiple colors, Diameter: moles greater than 6 mm are more likely to be melanomas than smaller moles and Enlarging: Enlarging or evolving). There are even better diagnostic methods to detect melanoma in the early stage, such as a dermatoscopic examination. As a rule, any new skin lesion that grows, increases in diameter and bleeds is suspicious and it is recommended that it is examined by a medical doctor specialized in dermatolovenerology. Moles are usually checked with a dermatoscop once a year. A dermatoscopic examination is especially recommended for people who have larger number of moles, dysplastic moles (moles with irregular borders), moles which change in appearance, medical history of skin cancer and family history of melanoma.
A dermatoscopic examination is done using a special magnifier that allows a more detailed visualization of skin. In case of a suspect malignant tumor, skin biopsy is performed or a suspect lesion is completely removed (small procedure performed under local anesthesia which last 10-15 min) and analyzed. The treatment is conducted according to the results of the analysis and the tumor type.