Benign and Malignant Skin Lesions

More than 1 million people are expected to develop skin cancer this year, according to the National Cancer Institute. While most skin cancers form in older people as a result of sun exposure or in people who have weakened immune systems, it is essential that everyone participate in routine health maintenance exams that include skin inspection.

While many skin lesions are harmless and simply require monitoring, removal of suspicious skin lesions can reduce the risk they will develop into a malignancy, or cancer. In fact, almost all skin cancers can be cured by early surgical removal.

The physicians of Surgical Associates are well-read on the latest research regarding skin cancer risk factors and are experts in the inspection, identification and removal of premalignant and malignant lesions. Your Surgical Associates physician will consider three general categories when diagnosing a skin lesion as benign or malignant:

– Your age, ethnicity, associated symptoms and sun exposure to the area
– Physical characteristics of the lesion, including its location
– Characteristics of the lesion that are less visible to the naked eye

The third category often requires a biopsy, or surgical sample of the lesion, which is looked at under a microscope to help your physician properly diagnose your condition. If necessary, your physician will work with you to map out a treatment plan that may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy or vaccine therapy.