Health Tips for Seniors

Archive for October, 2005

Skin abnormalities – Wens and Lipoma


A wen is a blocked and much enlarged skin gland. When the duct of the skin gland becomes blocked by a blackhead-like process, considerable secretion from the gland accumulates and stretches it into a small, balloon-like structure. Under the skin it feels like a smooth, painless enlargement about the size of a pea to an acorn.

They are usually found in the scalp, back or scrotum, and are definitely not cancerous; however, they may become infected, and develop into a rapidly growing boil-like process. Treatment of wens consists of simple surgical removal. The balloon-like lining of the over-stretched gland must be completely removed or it tends to recur.


Lipomas are soft growths of fat just under the skin, occurring most often on the trunk, neck, arms, and armpits. They vary in size from a pea to an orange, and are usually painless, soft and easily compressed between the fingers.

A lipoma is not cancerous in nature, but sometimes it is confused with cancerous growths which also may be present just under the skin. Because of this confusion and because of their cosmetic appearance, they usually are removed in a very simple surgical operation.

Skin abnormalities – Moles, Senile Keratosis, and Angioma


The ordinary mole begins in youth, but may develop in middle or even later years of life. They are usually light brown, with a slightly elevated appearance and considered desirable as a beauty spot by many people. Most moles, including those with hair growth are not cancerous but certain moles are considered dangerous and should be removed as soon as detected. They are the blue or pitch black moles with a smooth surface, which occur at any age. Because these moles sometimes develop into serious cancers, the physician’s attention should be directed to them as soon as possible to be safe. Ordinary moles in spots of continual irritation such as the belt-line or shaving area are also usually recommended for removal, lest continual irritation stimulate a possible cancerous change in them.

Senile Keratosis

Soft, warty, raised and mole-like growths about the back, hands and face in adult years are known as senile keratosis or seborrheic warts. They are very common after the age of fifty, and especially in fair-skinned people. These soft, painless growths have little, if any, connection with cancer, but are apparently connected to excessive exposure to sunlight. They can be removed for cosmetic purposes or if they are in areas subject to considerable irritation but rarely do senile keratosis become malignant.

Angioma, Blood Warts, Senile Ectasia

About 5 to 10 percent of persons over fifty years have small ruby-red growths on their skin, especially of the face and chest. They are painless and made up of small, thread-sized, red blood vessels grouped in little clusters on the skin. As the years pass, they seem to become larger and more numerous, and if scratched, may heavily bleed, but they are not considered to be of a cancerous nature. They may be safely left alone, unless they are in an area of continual irritation, or unless they interfere with cosmetic appearance. The physician can remove these growths by excision or cautery, both of which are very simple procedures.

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