Skin Tumors

Skin Tumors: Definition, emergence and complaints – 2022

skin tumors

Skin Tumors: Definition, emergence and complaints

In the following we refer exclusively to malignant tumors of the skin. The development of these skin tumors is almost always related to…

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3 Types of Skin Cancer


Definition, emergence and complaints

The term tumor generally describes a new formation. Whether this is a benign (benign) or malignant (malignant) change or a preliminary stage (so-called precancer) is not specified with this term. Thus, for example, a swelling in the event of a bruise or a ganglion (ganglion) should initially be described as a tumor. Whether a tumor is benign or malignant results from the physical, but above all from the histological (histological) findings by the pathologist. There are tumors in different parts of the body and from different tissues (e.g. muscles, bones, etc.).

In the following we refer exclusively to malignant tumors of the skin. The development of these skin tumors is almost always related to excessive exposure of the skin to ultraviolet rays. Other life circumstances and hereditary factors also play a role. In addition to various preliminary stages of skin cancer, some of which can be treated with superficial applications such as special ointments, deep peelings, laser therapy, radiation, photodynamic therapy, freezing, scraping (curettage) or abrasion (dermabrasion), fully developed skin tumors are usually one domain of surgical treatment. Because skin cancer is noticeable externally, it can usually be discovered and diagnosed at an early stage. However, this requires regular visits to the dermatologist for cancer screening.

The different types of skin cancer can be roughly divided into the commonly known “white” and “black” skin cancer. In “white” skin cancer, basalioma (basal cell carcinoma) can be distinguished from spinalioma (spindle cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma). Both grow in a locally destructive manner, which is of great functional and aesthetic importance from a certain depth (e.g. muscles, bones, nerves) and localization (e.g. eye, nose, ear). The “black” skin cancer grows much faster and more aggressively and can affect not only the skin, but more rarely also the eyes, fingernails or toenails, brain and mucous membranes. In contrast to “white” skin cancer, it is an immediately life-threatening disease. Figure 1 provides an overview of the different types of skin tumors and their frequency in Germany.

Skin tumors are usually visible on the skin surface, mostly raised and sometimes blurred changes, which in certain cases have a rough, scabbed surface and bleeding tendencies. In the case of malignant melanoma, there is often a clear pigmentation (dark discoloration). The increase in size of the tumors varies. Normally, the basalioma in particular grows very slowly.

What preparations must be made?

  • If necessary, discussion and explanation by the anesthetist
  • If necessary, blood tests and ECG examinations can be carried out by your family doctor
  • For some changes, further examinations (especially ultrasound examination and computer tomography) are necessary before the intervention.

What are the risks with this operation?

In general, it is a safe procedure with manageable downtime and few symptoms. In the hands of an experienced specialist, the risks of scar correction are manageable, but the following complications can occur under certain circumstances:

  • Blood loss, swelling, bruising, pain up to functional failure
  • infections
  • Nerve damage leading to weakness, paralysis, or loss of feeling
  • The skin tumor comes back and requires another operation.
  • Allergic reaction to medication
  • Heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, pneumonia, bladder infections
  • Serious medical problems can lead to lasting health problems, prolonged hospitalization, or, rarely, even death
  • The scars caused by the operation become less and less visible over time, especially with good scar care with creams and massage, but are permanent.

Risk factors for complications

  • unhealthy diet
  • Smoking
  • alcoholism
  • Chronic illness
  • Use of steroids (e.g. cortisone)
  • Age (over 60 years)


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