Dr Hilda Ganesen

Female Family Physician

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Comparison between benign and malignant (cancerous) skin lesion

Skin lesions


Have you noticed an odd looking lesion on your skin?  Have you dismissed it as 'just a mole'. 

Be aware of the worrisome signs of the simple 'mole'. Older patients often present with 'sunspots' on the neck and upper limbs. Sunspots maybe a part of a condition called actinic keratosis which predisposes to skin cancer.


Risk factors for skin cancer:

  • - Pale skin
  • - Family or personal history of skin cancer
  • - Increased exposure to the sun with a history of sunburns when younger
  • - Indoor tanning
  • - Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily or becomes painful in the sun
  • - Blue or green eyes
  • - Blond or red hair
  • - Certain types and numbers of moles ( see slideshow)

Dr Ganesen will assess skin lesions.  Minor lesions maybe removed with cryotherapy ( freezing the lesion).  Moles are excised at the rooms.

However, a big part of the practice is preventative medicine.  If risk factors are identified during the consult, a consultation with a dermatologist may be requested for mole mapping and further evaluation.


Common skin conditions in adults

Herpes Zoster ( Shingles)

This infection is caused by reactivation of the chicken pox virus that was dormant in the nerve roots in the spine. It begins with a painful burning sensation over a small area of skin, usually it is on one side of the body.  A day or two later blisters may develop over the area. Zoster occurs commonly when your immunity is decreased.  Treatment with an antiviral within 48 hours of eruption of the blisters prevents complications


Urticuria ( HIVES)


Hives, also known as urticaria, is a common allergic skin condition.  It is most often to antibodies in the bloodstream that recognize foreign substances. This eruption appears suddenly anywhere on the body as elevated blanched bumps surrounded by an intensely itchy red rash. There may be many lesions, but each one only exists for eight to 12 hours.


Cold sores (fever blisters)

Herpes labialis (cold sores) is caused by herpes simplex virus. Cold sores may appear on the edge of the lip. This virus exists in a dormant state in the spinal cord nerve cells, and after certain environmental triggers like a sunburn or a cold, the virus is induced. It will travel along a peripheral nerve to the same skin site over and over again.

There are usually several stages of a cold sore, including:

1. Itching and Burning : A day or two before a blister appears, you may experience a tingling, itching and even burning sensation around the lips. This is the first sign that a cold sore is developing.

2. Blisters : Within 24–48 hours, a blister, which is a small fluid-filled bump, appears on the border of the lips and skin.

3. Oozing and Scabbing: Eventually, the blister or blisters will break open and begin to ooze fluid, and this can be quite painful. It will then dry out and crust over, creating a scab that protects the new skin growing underneath.

The eruption is self-limited to about seven to 10 days.


Canker sores

These are also lesions that appear on the lip and are often mistaken for fever sores.  However these lesions are more likely to occur on the mucosa inside the mouth. Unlike cold sores , these are not contagious  It usually appears a yellow or white circular lesion with a red rim around the lesion.


Seborrhoeic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is the single most common rash of adult human beings. It is commonly referred to as cradle cap in babies. The adult disease tends to favor the scalp, skin behind the ears, forehead, brows, nasolabial folds of the face, mid-chest area, and the mid-back, producing an itchy, red scaling dermatitis. The scaling in the scalp can be conspicuous, producing impressive dandruff. The cause of this condition is unclear. This condition commonly improves spontaneously but will ultimately recur. There is no cure so treatment must continue indefinitely.