Skin Lesions

Safely Treating Skin Lesions Since 2002

Dr. Andrew Shapiro routinely treats many kinds of skin and soft tissue lesions including benign (non-cancerous) conditions, squamous cell carcinoma, sarcoma, and melanoma.

With extensive training in surgical oncology, Dr. Andrew Shapiro has treated melanoma since 1997. Recently, he opened the Melanoma Institute of Florida, providing a coordinated, comprehensive team approach to the care of this disease. Our approach provides patients peace of mind that their cancer navigator can coordinate their medical care—handling everything from booking a surgery to making appointments and following-up with specialists.

Our team can follow up with various specialists including:

  • plastic or reconstructive surgeons
  • medical oncologists
  • radiation oncologists
  • pathologists
  • dermatologists
  • nutrition educators
  • other providers, such as home care services and palliative care providers

In addition, if your care plan includes a team of surgical specialists in the operating room, we can make these arrangements for you. This is just another way we are able to help eliminate unnecessary stress.

Lesions on the skin, lumps, or bumps can be cysts, warts, moles, or skin tags. While most are benign and rarely cause a serious problem, you may wish to have them removed if they become painful, unsightly, or restrict movement.

If a skin lesion shows any sign of turning cancerous, such as a change in color, size, or shape, you should seek an immediate evaluation. At Advanced Surgical Physicians, our doctor can assess the lesion and may remove it and perform a biopsy, which is when a small sample of the tissue is sent to a laboratory for examination under a microscope. This will help to determine if it is benign or malignant.

Types of Skin Lesions

Soft Tissue Tumors: There are many types of soft tissue tumors—many of which are not cancerous. It is important to have your skin examined by a doctor, especially since sun exposure in South Florida is high. Prevention, early detection, and treatment are important to maintain good health and positive outcomes.

Benign Skin Tumors: Benign skin tumors include many types of moles, seborrheic keratosis, lipomas, freckles, skin tags, cysts, and warts. Theses lumps, bumps, and growths often do not cause a serious problem, but if they become painful, unsightly, or restrict movement, you may want to have them removed.

Lipoma: A Lipoma is a very common benign tumor consisting of fat tissue. They can be found anywhere in the body, but most are found under the skin.

Mole: A common mole is made up of pigment cells, called melanocytes, that grow in clusters. Common moles may be present at birth or they can appear later in life. Most people continue to develop new moles until about age 40. In older people, common moles tend to fade away. Most moles are benign, but moles that may require medical attention are those that look different than other existing lesions or experience changes in color, height, size, or shape. If you have this type of mole, you should have a physician evaluate it. Also, have moles checked if they bleed, ooze, itch, appear scaly, or become tender or painful.

Seborrheic Keratosis: Seborrheic Keratosis are noncancerous (benign) wart-like round/oval-shaped growths on the skin. They are usually painless, but may become irritated and itchy.

Skin Cancer: The three most common types of skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. A sarcoma is a generalized term for cancers that develop in soft tissues such as fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues.

Basal Cell Carcinoma: This form of skin cancer is the most common. Like most forms of skin cancer, basal cell carcinomas can be found anywhere on the body including areas that have been protected from the sun. They can appear as a shiny pearly nodule, a thickening of the skin/scar tissue, or a red patch similar to eczema. A biopsy of the area in question will determine if it is a basal cell cancer.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC): Merkel cells are found on the outer layer of the skin and are a relatively uncommon type of cancer. Usually, these lesions are found on sun-exposed skin, but can be found anywhere on the body including areas that have been sun protected. MCC appears as a firm, painless bump(s) that can vary in color from flesh tone to red/violet. The small bump tends to grow rapidly over several weeks and months. If you notice this kind of skin abnormality on your body, you should seek medical treatment immediately. At Advanced Surgical Physicians, we have the expertise and knowledge to care for MCC.

Spindle Cell Sarcoma: Spindle cell sarcoma is a cancer that typically begins in the connective tissue found under the skin, or between muscles and surrounding organs. Often, you will see a small, inflamed lump that grows in size.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinomas often appear on sun-exposed areas of the body, but they can also develop in scars, skin ulcers, and genital areas. This cancer begins in the epithelium layer of the skin and can also occur in many organs as epithelial cells lines, which makes them more aggressive than basal cell cancers. Squamous cell carcinomas typically start off as small nodules and increase in size over time. These nodules can also turn into ulcers.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts with melanocytes, which are found in the skin. Melanoma can develop from a common mole or in an area of apparently normal skin including in the eye, digestive tract, and other areas of the body.

People with dark skin are less likely to develop melanoma than people with fair skin. When it does develop, melanoma is often found under toenails or fingernails, on the palm of a hand, or on the soles of the feet. Melanoma is dangerous because it can spread and invade nearby tissues and travel to other parts of the body such as the lung, liver, bone, or brain. The earlier melanoma is detected and removed, the more likely treatment will be successful.

If you have a new, colored area on your skin or notice a change in the shape, color, size, or feel of an existing mole, see a physician. If a skin lesion shows any sign of turning cancerous, such as a change in color, size or shape, you should seek immediate evaluation. At Advanced Surgical Physicians, our doctor can assess the lesion, remove it (if necessary), and perform a biopsy. These results will be used to determine if a lesion is benign or malignant.

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