A skin tag is a thin stalk of hanging skin with bulging ends. Skin tags can be flesh-colored or appear anywhere on the body. However, they are more common in areas where skin rubs together like the neck and armpit.
Skin cancer is a disease in which malignant, or cancerous, cells form in the tissues of the skin. Skin tags can be benign or not-cancerous. They are composed of skin fibers, ducts, nerve cells and a covering epidermis.
- Malignant: Cancerous growths that spread quickly and infiltrate nearby tissues.
- Benign:Non-cancerous growth, which usually grows slowly and doesn’t spread to other parts.
Skin tags that are cancerous
A skin tag that becomes cancerous or precancerous is very rare. However, it is important to contact your dermatologist if you notice any changes in the color or shape of your skin tag.
According to the National Institutes of Health, skin tags can affect up to 46 percent of Americans. These skin tags are more common in women over middle age, obese people, diabetics, pregnant women, and overweight people. Skin tags can be passed on to children from their parents. Skin tags are not linked to skin cancer risk factors such as sun exposure or skin with a lighter skin tone.
Getting skin tags removed
Most people don’t require treatment for skin tags. They are painless and harmless. If the patient is concerned about their skin tags, doctors can freeze them, perform electrocautery or numb and cut them off.
Skin tags are not considered cancerous. However, it is important that you keep an eye out for any changes or growths in your skin. Doctors recommend that you do your own skin checks at least once per month. This should be after a bath or shower in a well-lit area. A physician should also conduct a complete skin exam at least once per year.
Be aware that most skin growths such as skin tags are benign. However, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and signs to watch out for suspicious growths. Sometimes benign growths may be signs of something more serious, such as a hormonal disorder. You should seek medical attention immediately if you are unsure or if the skin growth shows symptoms such as changes in appearance or malignancy.