What should I do if I have a skin lesion on my back?
Skin lesions on your back are very awkward as you cannot see them, you can only feel them, and even that is difficult at times unless your arms are very flexible.
You can only ask your partner or friend to have a look for you and tell you if your back is all right, if there is a mole, cyst, lipoma, or other lesion that could be skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma.
Your family can take photographs, but the best thing to do if you have a lump on your back is to come and see the consultant dermatologist, Dr Jennifer Crawley.
Dr Crawley, who works here at Clinica London, will be able to let you know whether your skin lesion is a lipoma, a sebaceous cyst or skin cancer such as a basal cell carcinoma or even melanoma. Skin tags can occur on the back, particularly near the armpits.
The skin on your back is quite thick and contains oily glands. Back lesions are varied; a lipoma sits quite deep below the skin, a sebaceous cyst occurs in the oily glands of the skin and causes a subcutaneous lump, which the doctor can often express. Skin cancers can look pigmented and can either be relatively flat or pinky, pearly and raised. They may even bleed.
Unfortunately, skin cancers can often seem small and innocent when they are slow growing, such as basal cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common skin cancers, resulting from exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
If you have a lesion on your back you will need to have it assessed by a specialist consultant dermatologist such as Dr Jennifer Crawley, who will examine it and assess it clinically. She will also photograph it and use dermatoscopy, which is a form of light and magnification, to look at its vascular pattern and cellular content.
If she has any concerns, she will arrange a biopsy to determine what it is. A biopsy can often mean removing the whole lump, but sometimes it involves just taking a small specimen of tissue for diagnostic purposes and then doing further surgery afterwards. Many biopsies of lesions on the back do not require stitches, as these procedures are called shave biopsy or curettage biopsy. It usually takes about a week for the results of the tissue analysis to come back to Clinica London. Dr Crawley will then contact you and may arrange to see you personally to discuss the result.
If you have a skin lesion on your back and would like to see Dr Crawley, you can book in to see her by calling us on 0207 9357990.