Skin Growths (Benign / Non-cancerous)

Skin Growths (Benign / Non-cancerous)

What is a skin growth?

A skin growth is defined by the accumulation of skin cells and underlying tissue which results in either flat or raised markings, lesions or tumours on the surface of the skin. Growths can occur from the time of birth or develop later due to a variety of causes. Growths also range in colour, and can appear red, dark brown, black or even the same colour as a person’s skin.

Skin growths are typically characterised as either ‘controlled’ or ‘uncontrolled’. When ‘controlled’, the accumulation of cells and tissue does not spread to other parts of the body. Thus, the growth is classified as benign (non-cancerous). An ‘uncontrolled’ growth has the ability to metastasize (accumulate more cells and tissue in other areas of the body) and affect normal skin cells and tissue elsewhere. ‘Uncontrolled’ growths are thus classified as malignant and can spread to other areas of the body.

The majority of known skin growths are benign and are more often than not, a cosmetic issue rather than a threat to a person’s medical wellbeing. All growths, however, should be checked (even tested) by a medical doctor (or dermatologist) in order to be absolutely sure as to what type of growth it is. It is not advisable to leave a growth and assume that it is harmless to your health.

What commonly causes skin growths?

The underlying causes of most benign skin growths are often unknown. Some of the most common underlying causes, that are known, include:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors (such as those that are stimulated by sunlight)
  • Viruses
  • Systemic diseases (body-wide) such as hormonal abnormalities and disorders

 

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