What is a Skin Lesion?
A skin lesion is a broad encompassing term that includes any change to the normal character of your skin.
A skin lesion is not necessarily a cause for concern; as some are the natural result of damage to the dermis (think blister, callous, or skin tag).
However, skin lesions with certain characteristics may be cancerous. While many people think Skin Cancer only affects the elderly, this is false. It does not necessarily take a lifetime to develop.
Since the Covid-pandemic, we have noticed a decrease in Patients presenting with skin lesions. Please note that as Medical Professionals we understand the value of safety precautions & uphold strict regulations. As such, we urge people to be proactive in seeking professional medical advice if you see something new or unusual on your skin’s surface. Early detection does safe lives.
In fact, 99% percent of skin cancers can be treated and cured before they turn deadly when discovered early enough.
Spotting Skin Cancer Early
Skin Cancer is the most common type of cancer. Early detection is absolutely critical for successful treatment of all skin cancers. All new growths, changing lesions, lesions with certain qualities (listed below), or lesions which you feel anxious, worried, or unsure about should be seen by a professional.
The Middle Way – During the pandemic, health focus was shifted to viral symptomatology. While this is valuable, it has resulted in unintended side effects. One of these being a marked decrease in the identification and early detection of various cancers, including cancers of the skin. Unfortunately, this may have negative consequences in the long-term if these cancers aren’t caught in time.
Delay no more; give yourself the gift and encourage your loved ones to resume their medical check-ups: your health and well-being depend on it!
What to Look for
Skin cancer does not hide unseen inside the body, it forms out in plain sight on our skin. Many if not most skin lesions are in fact benign, meaning they won’t spread to other tissue and therefore are not cancer. However, it is possible for some benign tissues to turn into cancer.
Learning what to look for and looking regularly is the first step to ensuring that skin lesions, which could be cancerous in nature, are caught in time!
• Painful, itchy, bleeding, or crusty sores or spots that are not going away
• Birthmarks or moles that change colour or become thicker, larger, or differently textured.
• Any growths that are getting bigger and appear clear, pearly, tan, brown, black, or multicoloured.
• Any changes to a surface or a mole
• Colour that spreads past a lesion onto the surrounding skin
Spotlight on Mole Assessment!
Keep the following easy ABCDE acronym in mind when assessing moles.
Asymmetry – different parts of the mole don’t match.
Borders – ragged, notched, blurred, and/or irregular borders.
Colour – Different colours including patches; i.e. brown, black, with bits of white, pink, red or blue.
Diameter – Keep watch on any larger lesions or ones that are growing. Professional assessment should be had on all moles or spots that are larger in size than a standard pencil eraser.
Evolving – changing in any way
How to Perform a Self-Exam
• Get a mirror
• Find a brightly lit private area
• Methodically check your skin from top to toe.
• Make note and/or photograph the size and placement of any new, unusual, or changing skin lesions.
• Receive annual professional full body skin checks.
Sometimes it is not easy or even possible to tell if a skin lesion is cancerous with the naked eye. The best rule to follow is to always get a second opinion when something strikes you as unusual, different, or strange. If the Doctor agrees with you, a biopsy or a removal may be recommended.
Dr Potgieter surgically removes atypical or abnormal skin lesions.
To determine whether or not a particular lesion is a threat, the skin cells themselves are submitted for lab testing. This is referred to as a biopsy. Once under the microscope it becomes easier to identify whether the cells are benign (harmless) or not.
To get the best possible cell sample, some dermal tissue may be taken both under and around the area. This allows the lab to determine if the lesion is cancerous and whether it has spread beyond its border. Treatment utilizes local anaesthetic and is completed quite quickly.
Dr Potgieter’s aesthetic experience allows him to employ advanced techniques in both incision and suturing. This minimizes any negative aesthetic affects from the procedure, including scarring. He will also provide detailed after-care instructions as well as recommendations for steps that can be taken to facilitate healing.
*Moles and lesions which pose no threat of cancer but have an undesired aesthetic impact can also be removed skilfully by Dr Potgieter.
Expertise & Skill
Dr Potgieter possesses a practised skill and professional talent in dealing with all dermal conditions. Assessing and removing skin lesions is simple and pain-free in his private rooms. He and his Staff take every effort to ensure that you feel cared for and comfortable during your visit and that your experience is a positive one from start to finish.
Call today 011 463 8602