Occasionally, you will be dressing, showering, or what have you, and you will find a bump or a lump on your body that wasn’t there the last time you were enjoying said activity - or at least, you could swear that it wasn’t. This swelling is no cause for immediate alarm, but could be something worth further investigation - and not the fun kind with Sherlock Holmes and a magnifying glass. The kind of investigation that may involve a doctor, a dermatologist, and even a procedure like a biopsy. The scarier outcome, of course, is not getting it checked out, so, here are a few signs that you may want to seek the opinion of a professional.
This famous and deceptively cute way of classifying dangerous skin bumps can be researched most anywhere, but since you’re here, a quick overview: A is for Asymmetry - this means that the lump/bump/spot is not the same on both halves - if you were to halve it. B is for Borders - when your spot/lump/bump has textured or uneven edges, that may be an indication of danger. C is for Color - if the color of your spot changes, is black/blue/red or some odd combination of the three, or is just plain weird to start out with, it is worth a looksie by a doc. D is for Diameter - a spot/bump/lump larger than the the eraser on a pencil (about ¼”) could be a melanoma. Finally, E can stand for Elevation or Evolution - if you keep track of the spot and it changes, or if it is raised to form a bump or a lump, it should be checked by a doctor or dermatologist - this doesn’t mean that you have cancer. It just means it’s worth checking. The majority of suspicious looking moles end up being diagnosed as benign, but it’s well worth a visit to the doc.
These skin colored, hard bumps can appear alone or in clusters, on your face, feet, hands and genitals. The bumps themselves are less dangerous than the inner infections - caused by the Human Papilloma virus. Which can turn into cervical cancer in women. If you do find yourself with a wart - see a doctor and have her check you for infections caused by HPV. They can also be nothing, but it’s best to make sure.
Cysts are small, pea-sized at their biggest, bumps that occur underneath the skin. They are caused by a slew of mundane things, and often cause no health problems at all. If one is causing you discomfort - it is worth an examination, but because it is hurting you, not because it is actually dangerous. Cysts can occur on the skin surface or in your reproductive area as well. Most internal ones disipate on their own after your menstrual cycle is over. If one lingers longer than a month, causes pain upon rising or disrupts sleep, it’s time to ask your GYN to give you a pelvic exam.
Anginomas manifest themselves as small reddish and purplish bumps. They never change their size or bleed, despite being blood vessels. They are harmless. Hematomas are quite different - they are an internal bleed that has no where to drain and so manifests as a giant bruise bump, and can surround serious injuries like a broken bone. Anginomas are nothing to worry about, but hematomas are worth an X-Ray, at least - and they’re usually painful, meaning you couldn’t ignore one if you tried.
Anything else is probably just a mole or a freckle, BUT in case its not, better safe than sorry. If you keep track of a bump, and it changes in anyway other than going away, best to have a doctor look at it. Better to find out that it is nothing the easy way than to find out that it is something the hard way.
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