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Freckles (cont.)

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What is the medical meaning of freckles?

True freckles pose essentially no health risk at all. They are all absolutely harmless. They are not cancerous and generally do not become cancerous.

Rare concerns about freckles may arise when they are associated with other diseases like xeroderma pigmentosum and neurofibromatosis or when they are confused with the following, more serious conditions:

  • Lentigo maligna ("malignant freckle"): This is an uncommon fairly superficial skin cancer that generally occurs on the faces of older adults who have a history of considerable sun exposure. Over the course of months to years, this condition may, if untreated, develop into a more aggressive malignant variety called lentigo maligna melanoma. There are, of course, many hundreds of ordinary facial freckles for every one that is potentially malignant. A simple in-office test called a skin biopsy can help diagnose lentigo maligna.
  • Melanoma: This very dangerous form of skin cancer may appear even in young people and on parts of the body that are sun-exposed as well as those that are protected.. While the exact cause of melanoma is not entirely known, ultraviolet rays (particularly UVA) are known to play a part. Melanomas can arise from a previously normal mole or pigmented spot that has been present many years or lifelong. Melanomas can also arise from completely normal skin without an apparent preexisting mole. In comparison with benign (noncancerous) freckles, melanomas tend to be larger, darker, and have more irregular color and shape variations. Most melanomas are actually flat and not raised as many people tend to incorrectly assume.
  • Basal cell carcinoma: This is the most common type of skin cancer. These are usually pearly, pink or reddish in color, and may bleed easily. Pigmented basal cell carcinoma is a type of basal cell that may be confused for a freckle or seborrheic keratosis because of its brown or dark color. A simple procedure called a skin biopsy can help diagnose this growth.

A warning

Anyone who has one or more uncertain pigmented spots should have their physician or dermatologist evaluate them. Even verbal descriptions and photographs cannot convey enough information for satisfactory self-diagnosis. As always, it is better to be safe than sorry.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a full-body skin examination for adults as part of a routine annual health exam. It is important to have any new, changing, bleeding mole or growth examined by your physician or dermatologist as soon as possible. Skin cancers are curable if diagnosed and treated at an early stage.


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Freckles - Value Question: Explain why you like your freckles.
Freckles - Heredity Question: Did you inherit your freckles? Are they a characteristic of your heritage or ethnicity? Please share.
Freckles - Prevention Question: Do you try to minimize freckles? Describe how you try to prevent them.
Freckles - Treatment Question: What treatments have you used for your freckles? What would you recommend?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/freckles/article.htm

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