How to tell the difference between seborrheic keratosis and melanoma

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At Harris Dermatology, we deal regularly with patients who are worried about growths or lesions that develop on the skin, curious to know if they are signs of skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed o patients in America. It can be preventable, and each sun exposure can cause cumulative sun damage, contributing to a patient’s increased risk of cancer over time. With proper protection, patients can significantly reduce the chances of developing skin cancer during their lifetime.

Many patients ask our team at Harris Dermatology about the signs of skin cancer. They may hear certain terms such as seborrheic keratosis and melanoma. Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, while seborrheic keratosis is a benign mole. Comparing the two can be a little complicated, as they may look similar. This is why routine skin cancer evaluations are vital to getting a definitive diagnosis through a biopsy (sample) of the growth.

Seborrheic keratosis is a wart like growth that can develop anywhere eon the body. They may develop on their own or as a group of multiple growths. They range in color, shape, and size, and is often less than an inch in diameter. In some cases, they can cause itching. It is important for patients to see their dermatologist if these growths tend to become irritated or bleeding, or if there are significant changes that happen to their size, shape, and color. This may be a sign of melanoma and not just seborrheic keratosis. Working with a professional who knows the difference can make all the difference in getting a proper diagnosis of skin cancer early enough for successful intervention at Harris Dermatology.

Are you interested in obtaining a skin cancer screening?

If you have a growth that looks suspicious and has changed in form, size, or color, an evaluation with a medical professional should be scheduled. At Harris Dermatology, our team provides quality care to patients in and around the areas of Naples and Fort Myers, Florida. Call one of our two practice locations to schedule your skin cancer screening today!


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