Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Do I Have Skin Cancer?

Friday, 29 Jun 2012 09:44 AM


Question: I have something on my left arm. It's not black or irregular, but for the past couple of months it has itched occasionally. It also seems firmer than it used to be and a little redder. It's about three-eighths of an inch in diameter. Should I be concerned?

Basically, you're describing a small, firm, red, shiny lesion that occasionally itches. Your description well describes a benign fibroma or cyst, and possibly a keloid scar at the site of a prior injury. A wart normally is elevated, and it will demonstrate multiple pinpoint bleeding points if scraped superficially.

You should have your doctor examine this lesion and possibly refer you to a dermatologist for its removal. Warts are easily treated without surgery, while cysts and fibromas can easily be excised before they become bigger problems. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, which are skin cancers, can look similar, and are best excised immediately. Melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer, is usually pigmented, but not always. Go to your local doctor or dermatologist and get this taken care of.


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