Mount Alvernia Hospital

820 Thomson Road #01-03
Medical Centre A
Singapore 574623

Noticed A Skin Lump On Your Body?

Lumps Can Be:

  • Sebaceous Cyst
  • Lipoma
  • Fibroma
  • Neuroma
  • Skin tags
  • Viral warts
  • Moles

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    Most commonly a painful lump on the back occurs when there is an underlying skin condition like a cysts, skin abscess, boil, or a pimple on the back. More serious causes of painful back bumps include lipoma and dermatofibroma. The most common types of skin lumps include:

    Sebaceous Cyst
    A sebaceous cyst forms when the opening to a sweat gland or sebaceous gland is blocked. This leads to the accumulation of sebum, an oily substance, resulting in a cyst. Sebaceous cysts can appear anywhere on the body, though they are mostly found on the neck, face or torso. They tend to be non-life threatening with zero chance of being cancerous. However, they can be uncomfortable if unchecked and fortunately can be easily removed under local anaesthesia.

    A lipoma is a growth of fatty tissue. Like a sebaceous cyst, a lipoma is usually benign with a rare chance of becoming malignant.

    Fibromas are tumours made of fibrous and connective tissues. They are typically benign.

    Neuromas are tumours made of nerve tissue. They are commonly found between the third and fourth toes. While neuromas can be painful, they are typically benign.

    Skin tags
    Skin tags are benign tumours of the skin and occur in folds or creases of the skin. They usually come with a stalk and a head. Larger skin tags might come with some abrasion or surface ulceration.

    Viral warts
    Viral warts are usually caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are thus usually present around the genital and anal regions. They can present themselves in large clumps and resemble skin tags, although they resemble more of a cauliflower.

    Moles are pigmented growths on the skin that form due to a cluster of melanocytes. Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells that give moles their dark colour. Most moles tend to be benign, but symptoms such as itch, pain, rapid growth and bleeding when scratched may indicate cancer.

    Your doctor will conduct necessary tests to ascertain if your lump is cancerous. There are usually also a few signs to tell if a lump is cancerous.

    Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    A squamous cell carcinoma commonly occurs on sun-exposed areas of the skin. It can appear in many forms, such as a flat reddish patch with skin scales, shallow skin ulcers or irregular-looking growth. A squamous cell carcinoma has the potential to spread to the lymph nodes in later stages. Patients should look out for abnormal skin patches that are itchy, painful or bleeds easily.

    Basal Cell Carcinoma
    A basal cell carcinoma is a common type of skin cancer. It is a locally invasive cancer that will can grow into underlying muscle, bone and lymph nodes. Patients should look out for reddish looking nodules.

    Malignant Melanoma
    Malignant melanoma is an aggressive skin tumour that arises from melanocyte-containing cells. A malignant melanoma can arise from either an existing mole that’s been around for many years or a new mole. Patients should look out for a change in size and shape of the mole, itchiness, pain or bleeding.

    Our doctor needs to first examine the lump(s) in the clinic before arrangements can be made for the surgery. In our practice, examination and surgery can be completed within the same day depending on the availability of facilities.

    Lipoma, sebaceous cyst, fibroma, neuroma, skin tags, viral warts, moles
    Surgery usually consists of either enucleation or surgical excision. This can be done under local anaesthesia for small lumps and bumps but general anaesthesia may be needed for large, deep-seated ones. Liposuction may also be a treatment alternative for small lipomas.

    Squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma
    For malignant lumps, surgery consisting of a wide excision around the tumour of up to 2cm is required. For areas like the face, a special technique known as Mohs surgery is employed to minimise the amount of skin removed while ensuring most of the cancer is removed.

    The most common way is for complete surgical removal. Small lumps can be removed in the outpatient surgery clinic under local anaesthesia. Larger lumps would need general anaesthesia performed in the operating theatre of the hospital.

    You should see a doctor if your lump persists or enlarges, especially if you also experience the following symptoms:

    • Unintended weight loss
    • Persistent fatigue
    • Night sweats
    • Hoarseness that persists for more than a month
    • Difficulty swallowing
    • Coughing out blood
    • Nose bleeds

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