Skin tumors

 Skin tumors are congenital or acquired. They are essentially skin lesions which occur in various parts of the body mainly due to excessive exposure to ultraviolet light or sunlight. Most of these skin lesions are benign. But sometimes they can be unfavorable for the body and develop into malignant skin tumors. Cancer cells proliferate and infect the underlying connective tissue.

To assess the origin of a skin tumor, a histological examination (biopsy) of the area is performed. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of skin tumors leads to a correct diagnosis that can prove to be a lifesaver for humans.

People with:


  • Light skin, hair, eyes


  • Large number of nevi over 100, size over 8mm


  • Family history


  • Long-term exposure to the sun


  • History of sunburn


are at a bigger risk of developing one.

Types of skin tumors

Skin tumors are divided into benign and malignant. Listed below are the most common of these.

Benign skin tumors


  • Nevi (Moles): They have different color, size and texture and can be found anywhere on the body. Some moles can develop into a malignant aggressive tumor, melanoma. This happens if there is an increase in their size, asymmetry or irregular borders or a change in color and texture.
  • Papilloma: These are exophytically (outwardly projecting) small-sized brown or skin colored nodules that usually develop in the chest, armpit, neck and groin area, i.e. in areas where high humidity and heat can develop. They can be transmitted by contact.
  • Pigmented spots: When the melanocytes present in the skin multiply, the production of melanin increases, and dark brown spots are created that extend mainly to the hands, chest, face and neck. The most popular pigmented spots are age spots, freckles and pigment spots.
  • Cysts: These are lumps that contain a thick, yellow substance, sebum and are usually found on the back, face or neck. Cysts can be due to clogged pores, skin injury, skin conditions or even hairs turning inward. If a cyst becomes infected, a red, slightly swollen, painful surface forms, the abscess.
  • Lipomas: These are small bumps of fat that grow subcutaneously, under the skin. They are more common on the neck, torso and forearms. They are generally harmless, unless there is an increase in their size or a wider spread of lipomas in the body.
  • Dermatofibromas: These are hard to the touch pink nodules that have the shape of spots and the size of a lentil. They usually appear on the extremities but can also be in the head area. Dark dermatofibromas can give the impression of melanoma.
  • Neurofibroma: They are small, round and soft nodules of nerves that appear sporadically in various parts of the torso and limbs. Neurofibromas, more rarely, may be an indication of hereditary Von Recklinghausen disease (mutation of the NF1 gene).
  • Seborrheic keratosis: Also known as “seborrheic wart” and appears as brown, black or yellow spots with a warty appearance on the face, scalp, shoulders, back, chest and neck. Seborrheic keratosis usually increase in number and create a rough surface.

Most benign skin tumors are removed conservatively or surgically for aesthetic reasons. However, they should be monitored and checked regularly to prevent any risk of recurrence and malignancy.

Malignant skin tumors


  • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common type of skin cancer that occurs on the torso, limbs, face, the head in general, as well as on the neck. It usually creates a red surface on which a persistent wound or crust develops that does not heal. It is infiltrative and causes local damage to the underlying tissues without metastasis.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): It is one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer. It is a red tumor with ulceration that forms a crust that is constantly bleeding. It is found mainly on the lips, ears, head and neck and more rarely on the limbs and torso. It develops relatively quickly and may cause metastasis to other parts of the body and especially to the lymph nodes.
  • Melanoma: It is the rarest but also the most aggressive skin cancer. Appears as a new or old nevus (mole) that has evolved with an irregular shape and shows some change in color, size and texture. Frequent bleeding and ulceration are common. Although it can develop in various parts of the body, it is usually found on the back, face and limbs, as well as the genitals. At an advanced stage it can cause metastasis to other parts of the body and especially to the lymph nodes.

The treatment of skin tumors

The choice of treatment will depend on the location, size and shape of the skin tumor, the patient’s age and the results of the histological examination. Some treatments that can be applied to superficial and early lesions are the following:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Electrodesiccation
  • Surgical laser removal
  • Conservative treatment with drugs

However, the preferred method is the surgical removal of the lesion to healthy limits, so that it can be sent for biopsy and the nature of the skin lesion determined.

At this point, the severity of skin tumors and the need for early detection and diagnosis that can save lives should be emphasized. It is essential that information about skin tumors is available in a targeted manner, so that the general public is informed, concerned and goes to the doctor for access and elimination.

Get proper and responsible information from the Plastic Surgeon Akis G. Karamatsoukis.

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