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Spotting cherry angiomas

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Ever noticed a red and raised skin formation on your torso, face, neck, or any other part of your body? Were you suddenly worried that this red, mole-like growth might be skin cancer? Let us answer these questions and learn more about the causes and treatment for cherry angiomas, those red bumps that form on your skin that most probably are the ones you were worried about.

Cherry angiomas, also called Campbell de Morgan (named after an English surgeon who observed it), senile angiomas, or cherry haemangiomas, are red, round, and usually raised skin formations that form and look as such because of the unusual growth of blood vessels inside it. Cherry angiomas may appear on almost any part of the body, but is more commonly seen on the torso, shoulders, neck, and arms. It may also appear in areas that are usually hidden, such as the genital area. There is no known cause of cherry angiomas; however the risk of having it is higher among pregnant women, those with family history, young adults to middle-aged individuals, and those experiencing a change in climate. Nevertheless, cherry angiomas are common and may still occur to anyone, regardless of skin color, race, or gender, although it is more visible on lighter-skinned individuals. The colors of cherry angiomas may range from red to purple, and its sizes may vary from a small dot to a quarter of an inch. Some are red and flat on the skin’s surface, while others look like bumps. It be found individually or in groups, and there is a probability that they will increase in size and number as time passes or as one ages.

Cherry angiomas are usually not a cause for concern as they do not pose any serious health risk and are not linked to performing certain physical activities or a specific diet. As these do not go away and stay permanently on the skin, however, those with cherry angiomas may find it bothersome to have them especially in areas where it is easily moved or touched, which causes them to bleed. Some find it unpleasant to look at, which is why they want to have them removed as well. The dermatologist may administer any of these treatments for cherry angiomas:

1. Cryosurgery – freezing the skin formation with liquid nitrogen to remove it

2. Electrocautery – using electricity to apply heat and stop growth

3. Laser – using a specific wavelength of a light or beam that is directed to the affected area to remove the skin formation

Cherry angiomas, as mentioned above, may usually be left on their own as they are not cancerous.  Most of the Chinese community prefer having them not removed since it symbolize wealth and prosperity. If the cherry angiomas change in color, size, or shape, or suddenly grow in number, it is best to consult the dermatologist right away. The doctor may perform a skin biopsy, where a small section is removed and taken to a laboratory to confirm if it is cancerous. Otherwise, cherry angiomas are not red flags.