Friday, August 27, 2010
With a CHERRY on Top!
Okay, before I leave the topic of benign skin lesions that worry people, there is one more that I should add: Cherry Hemangiomas (cherries, for short). These are super common across all races, but most obvious in light-skinned people. They are inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which simple means if you've got 'em, you are going to pass them on to your kids every time. They used to go by an awful name- senile hemangiomas. Glad we're now more politically correct on this one!
What are they? Tiny little bright red spots on your skin, that sometimes grow to maybe the size of an eraser on a pencil. I tell my patients that they are a birthday gift from God, because we tend to get more as we age (much nicer than calling them senile spots, right?)
They are formed by a proliferation of tiny blood vessels. As such, if you run over one with your razor as you are shaving, you can expect some significant bleeding, so be careful!
Happily, though, that is the worst thing these guys do. Cherries do not turn into cancers, nor cause any other issues beyond cosmetic.
Of course, not all bright red spots on your skin are cherry hemangiomas, so check with your doctor if you are concerned.
BOTTOM LINE: Don't worry if you notice you are sprouting more little red spots with each passing year- it's just God adding a "cherry" on top!