Can Skin Tags Be Cancerous?

Can Skin Tags Be Cancerous?

Skin tags effect just about everyone at some time or another; sometimes an individual might have anywhere between 50 and 100 skin tags on their bodies. These growths start off as small, flat areas which over a period of time start to take shape. It is normally to see a skin tag around the same size as an eraser on the end of a pencil; although in some rarer cases they have been quite larger than this.

Skin tags are more likely to occur in particular areas of the body; these normally are areas where the skin to skin contact occurs, such as:

  • The eyelids
  • The groin
  • Underneath the breast area In females
  • The neck area
  • Underneath the armpits

Can Skin Tags Be Cancerous?

skin tag imageOften individuals who have find that they have skin tags become alarmed about the possibility of those tags turning cancerous; however, according to scientists, skin tags are extremely unlikely to turn into cancerous growths. Skin tags really are just small benign growths of the skin that protrude, very often they occur on the armpits, groin, breasts or eyelids. These growths tend to occur in the over sixty’s; however, they can also occur at an earlier age.

Skin tags are also called acrochordons, and as such are fall into the classification of tumors; however, skin tag tumors do not become cancerous. Skin experts classify these acrochordons as benign skin growths, i.e. tumors. Many individuals, perhaps understandably, associate the categorization of a “tumor” with something much more serious. The good news, however, is that skin tags are really just a cosmetic issue; of course, this itself can produce issues for the individual concerned.

What can Cause Non-cancerous Skin Tags?

There are many things that can cause skin tags, however, the fact is, this is nothing more than an overgrowth area on the skin. The overgrowth is of the epidermal skin, which over time overlaps the dermis area causing a skin tag to form. The fibres of a skin tag tend to be looser and more swollen than normally formed fibres. As a result of these abnormal structures within the skin tags, hairs will not grow and they will not transform into moles. Skin tags tend to form in the groin, armpits and underneath the breasts for this reason.

Should I Remove a Skin Tag?

Because skin tags are nothing more than benign growths, the decision to leave alone a skin tag or series of skin tags will never increase the chance of these skin tags going on to cause become cancerous. Removing a skin tag is normally something which will be done at the preference of the person with the skin tag.

Although very clearly not a threat to life, larger skin tags can none the less be quite unsightly. Skin tags tend to range in size from just a few millimeters with the larger ones over 2-3 centimeters. Table tennis ball sized skin tags have been reported; however to be fair, skin tags that are of this size are pretty uncommon.

Over time skin tags will very often increase in size, as a result this tends to make the removal of a skin tag something that more and more people will want to do. Most of the time skin tags are best removed before they become very large; it is worth noting that the removal of a small skin tag is quite a bit easier to do than attempting to remove a much bigger skin tag.

Methods for Removing a Non-cancerous Skin Tag

For most people who decide that they will want to have their skin tag removed it is a quick, easy and pain free process; some of the more common ways are as follows:

  • Excision or cutting out the skin tag, normally happens alongside a local anaesthetic which is required to numb the area
  • Ligation is where a string is tied around the base of the skin tag, this cuts off the supply of blood to the skin tag, which simply falls off after a short period of time
  • Cryotherapy is the freezing of the tag by applying liquid nitrogen to it, the cells are killed, without effecting other nearby tissue area