How Do I Know if the Lump on my Leg is Cancerous or Not? (photo)

I have a hard lump on my shin and it bleeds when I hit it shaving, and sometimes it hurts when I touch it. It's gotten a little bigger and I feel really self conscience about it.

Doctor Answers 5

Mole removal for a dermatofibroma

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I see many of these lumps on the legs.  They are most commonly dermatofibromas.  I would see an expert to determine if a biopsy is needed or if there is a risk of some other process going on. 

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Suspicious lesion

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I would highly recommend that you see a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for an evaluation and possible biopsy.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Check Any Suspcious Spots Sooner Rather Than Later!

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If you have a lesion on your skin that you are concerned about, please go see a dermatologist! You dermatologist can reassure you if this is nothing to worry about, or perform a skin biopsy to determine exactly what is going on on your skin. Skin cancers can develop as a non-healing sore or bump on the skin that persists. Melanoma skin cancers often appear as pigmented lesions that can be asymmetric, have irregular borders, multiple colors or that are larger in size (larger than a pencil eraser). Skin cancers can appear anywhere on the body, including the legs. I always encourage my patients to help with the detection of any suspicious spots. When skin cancer are caught early, they can be easily treated. However, if left, they can progress and spread. As a dermatologist, I feel much better telling a concerned patient that their spot is nothing to worry about than asking them why they didn't come in to see me sooner.

Adam J. Mamelak, MD
Austin Dermatologic Surgeon

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How to tell if a growth is cancerous

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From your description, your growth is most likely (but not definitely) a benign growth called a dermatofibroma. However, you must be examined in person to be sure. Please use the ABCDE's as your guide for when to be concerned about moles: A for Asymmetry; B for irregular Borders; C for black or uneven Colors; D for Diameter greater than a pencil eraser; and E for a growth that is Evolving or changing. It is an extremely simple procedure for a dermatologist to biopsy or remove your growth and then have it checked microscopically for reassurance.

You can follow the video link below to learn more about identifying the changes in moles that are suspicious for skin cancer.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Lump on leg needs to be examined by a dermatologist in person

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There won't be a way to know unless you see a dermatologist in person. From a photo, none of us can conclusively tell you anything. It's best to see a dermatologist and have a biopsy of the site, if he or she determines this is necessary. Then you can conclusively determine what the bump is and proceed from there as necessary.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.