Skin tags are not cancerous, and skin cancer is not usually mistakenly identified as a harmless skin tag. However, it is possible to mistake a cancerous growth for a harmless skin tag, so it’s important to be able to distinguish skin tags vs. skin cancer and respond accordingly. We’ve laid out everything you need to know.
What is a Skin Tag?
You already know that skin tags are harmless, but what is a skin tag? A skin tag is a benign growth composed of collagen and blood vessels. It usually looks like a small cluster of skin extending out from a single point. They don’t require treatment, but some people have them removed for aesthetic reasons.
- What causes skin tags? The ultimate cause is unclear, but they are common in areas where skin rubbing and friction are most common. They are more common in people who have undergone hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, and they are also more common in people who are at least 60 years old.
- Where do skin tags appear? They are most common on the neck, the armpits, the eyelids, the breast area, and the groin. For those who are trying to distinguish skin tags vs. skin cancer, it’s important to note that skin cancer usually appears in other areas with more sun exposure, like the face, scalp, or hands.
Skin Tag or Skin Cancer: What to Keep in Mind
Skin tags are not cancerous, but any new growth on your body is worthy of deeper investigation. If you’re wondering whether a new growth is a skin tag or skin cancer, here’s what you should know:
- Skin tags are generally quite small, while skin cancer growths can be quite large.
- Skin tags generally grow off the skin, like a small flap. Skin cancers generally spread over the skin and cover a wider area.
- A supposed skin tag may actually be skin cancer if it grows quickly, changes in shape, or changes in color in a relatively short amount of time.
Consider Image-Guided Superficial Radiotherapy
For diagnoses of common skin cancer, Image-Guided Superficial Radiotherapy (Image-Guided SRT) may be a treatment option. By targeting cancerous cells with radiation, Image-Guided SRT can treat skin cancer without the risk of surgical scarring that comes with Mohs surgery. Find out how it works today.