SKIN TAGS - BENIGN TUMOR OR CANCEROUS TUMOR?
Skin tag if observed is a narrow stalk that hangs about your skin, bulging at the end. They are usually freshly colored and can grow anywhere on your body. Primarily they are found on skin surfaces that frequently have friction or rubs - like the skin near your armpit or neck. They have other names too like cutaneous papilloma, cutaneous tag, fibroma molluscum, soft fibroma, fibroma pendulum, acrochordon et al. They are quite common and they generally start appearing after midlife. Men and Women get affected by this condition equally.
But the lingering question that still haunts you - are they cancerous? To know that you must first understand what they are at first. Skin tags are non-cancerous, benign tumors on your skin consisting of a core duct and fiber, fat cell, nerve cell with a covering of the epidermis.They can appear in several places like your armpits, eyelids, breasts, upper chest, groin, and neck. You'd normally fail to notice them unless they are more prominently placed or repeatedly being rubbed against. Likely, you have not noticed your skin tags and in most cases, they fall off without causing any alarm. However, large skin tags tend to burst under pressure.
Skin tags are also irregular in their shape and appearance but are mostly smooth. They rise from your skin like stalks or fleshy pendulums. They usually start small looking like a pinhead bump. In some cases, they remain small but can grow bigger with time. Their range of growth varies from 2 mm to 1 cm in diameter - in some extreme cases that grow as big as 5 cm.
Are they cancerous?
Now that you know what they are, it's recommended that you come back to your main query. But first what counts as skin cancer? Skin Cancer entails cancerous or malignant cells forming in the tissue of your skin. Even though skin tags are tumors on your skin, they do consist of fibers and ducts which you have already learned in the previous section. So, they are benign or non-cancerous.
It is an extremely rare feat to see a skin tag become precancerous or cancerous. But it is recommended that you get in touch with your medical service provider if you notice any discoloration or skin lesions.
A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health in America concluded that about 46% of the US population have skin tags. Men and women who are past their middle ages are commonly seen with skin tags. They can also be in obese folks, diabetic, or even pregnant women. It appears as if some people have inherited an increased amount of susceptibility to skin tags. Certain risk factors are associated with skin cancer like exposure or a lighter skin tone is never associated with a skin tag.
Skin Tags are in a general sense do not raise any alarms for cancer, but you must keep an eye for any changes on your skin. Doctors usually recommend that you must check your skin at least once each month or get a full skin exam by a physician.
What are the recommended treatments to get rid of skin tags?
Skin Tags are painless and passive by default - so there is not an immediate requirement for a treatment. But if there are cosmetic concerns, you can remove them by freezing them with liquid nitrogen and numbing or cutting them off.
Some larger skin tags drop off passively if they frequent rubs against skin, jewelry, or clothing. Removing them from your face or your underarm can considerably make your shaving experience better.
Youcan opt for surgeries too, the procedures are:
The skin tag is frozen and removed with the help of liquid nitrogen.
The blood supply to the skin tag is cut off.
The skin tag is removed with a scalpel
The skin tag gets burned via electrolysis.
It is important to note that these procedures are to be done by dermatologists or any skin doctor. If your skin tag resides on your eyelid, that might require an ophthalmologist to remove it. Removing a skin tag at home is highly not recommended since there is a chance of getting an infection or possible bleeding. But you can always get rid of small tags with a thin cotton thread or a piece of dental floss, cutting the circulation off to the tag.
Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician at Children's Medical Group says that "Most of the time, skin tags will turn into scabs and fall off on their own. However, some people prefer to have them removed, either for cosmetic reasons or because the tags may rub against clothing or otherwise be bothersome. There are over-the-counter preparations designed to remove skin tags, moles, warts, and the like. Clear nail polish applied to the skin tag has also been used as a home remedy but is not a scientifically proven treatment. Besides, people have been known to numb their tags with ice before cutting them off with clean scissors or nail clippers. Keep in mind that the area may rarely but potentially develop serious bleeding and/or an infection, so home surgical removal is not something to be taken lightly"
Over-the-counter solutions can be availed of as well. What they offer is freezing the tag that automatically drops off after 7 to 10 days. Professional medical advice is still required before opting for such measures. These medications are quite like that of wart removals. Don’t be fooled by myths suggesting that removing skin tags results in them spawning back in numbers.