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Signs You Have a Tumor Like Khloé Kardashian

Learn the signs of a facial tumor and what to know about skin cancer.

Khloé Kardashian is one of the most recognizable names so when people started speculating on why she was covering her famous face with a bandage, she decided to set the record straight. In a series of Instagram stories, the reality star explained her scare with skin cancer for the second time.  "After noticing a small bump on my face and assuming it was something as minor as a zit," she wrote alongside a photo of her bump, "I decided to get it biopsied 7 months after realizing it was not budging." She went on to reveal, "A few days later I was told I need to have an immediate operation to remove a tumor from my face," she shared. "I called none other than Dr. Garth Fischer, a dear friend of my families and one of the best surgeons in Beverly Hills who I knew would take incredible care of my face." The mom of two said, "So, here we are…you'll continue to see my bandages and when I'm allowed, you'll probably see a scar (and an indention in my cheek from the tumor being removed)," she added, "but until then I hope you enjoy how fabulous these face bandages look." She also noted, "At 19 years old, I had melanoma on my back," she recalled, "and I had a surgery to remove that as well, so I am pre-composed to melanomas. Even those who are not, we should be checking all the time." She ended her posts by thanking her doctors and expressing gratitude. "Most people aren't as lucky as me," she wrote, "and I am forever thankful and grateful." Skin cancer is a leading cause of death and according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, "It is estimated that approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day," However, it's also preventable by reducing your exposure to ultraviolet rays and wearing sunscreen. "Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and has experienced dramatic rises in incidence in recent years. Fortunately, when caught early, all forms of skin cancer, including melanoma, can be completely curable," board-certified dermatologist, Julie Karen, MD tells us. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What to Know About Facial Tumors


Karan Lal DO MS FAAD Director of pediatric dermatology and cosmetic surgery in Scottsdale Arizona at Affiliated dermatology and diversity equity and inclusion committee member for the American society of dermatologic surgery says, "By definition skin cancers are tumors but not all tumors of the skin are skin cancers. A tumor is a fancy word for growth. Tumors can be benign (not dangerous) or malignant (concerning)." 

Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery tells us, "So facial tumors come in many different forms, but the most common are skin cancers, of which the most common is a basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and melanomas. But basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are far more prevalent and far more treatable and curable. Melanomas are a lot more dangerous and can be life-threatening as they can metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. But basal cell cancer is the most common, and it's curable either if it's small by just removing it and closing it. But many times the way that it's treated is by a technique called MOHS surgery, in which the tumor is removed and microscopic layers around that. So you minimize the amount of tissue that's removed and then reconstruction either immediately or at a later time, most often immediately is done. Most surgery is done by skin cancer dermatologists, and the reconstruction is often done by dermatologists, most surgeons, or by plastic surgeons." 

Viktoryia Kazlouskaya, a double board certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist practicing at Khrom Dermatology explains, "There are numerous bumps (tumors) that happen on the face. Some of them are harmless; others may be malignant/cancerous. In some instances, a cancer develops later in the tumor that was benign initially. Dermatologists are trained to evaluate skin tumors. They may use a small magnifying glass (dermatoscope) to see if the spot is worrisome. If the lesion has suspicious signs, a sample (biopsy) is taken to be examined under the microscope (dermatopathology). If the tumor is cancerous or precancerous, a complete removal is usually performed."


Signs You Have a Facial Tumor

Man in mirror

Dr. Lal explains, "When I educate patients about skin cancer and concerning growths I recommend they seek care if they notice: a non healing skin growth (can be a sign of basal cell skin cancer), a crusty painful bump (can be a sign of squamous cell skin cancer), changing mole, or a large tan brown patch."  Dr. Kazlouskaya says, "There are many types of skin tumors. For melanoma, one should look for asymmetry, irregular borders, multiple colors, and diameter more than 5mm (so-called ABCD rule). Other tumors may have different signs. I would advise to check any new spots, especially if they are bleeding or enlarging in size." 

Emily Wood, MD, board-certified dermatologist, Westlake Dermatology, Austin says. "Signs you should get your new or changing bump would be a scab that fails to heal after about a month or a pimple that does not resolve within several weeks. Oftentimes, basal cell carcinoma can look like a pimple or a scab. Basal cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin cancer. There is also the popular ABCDE mnemonic patients can use to remember features of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. 


B-borders (irregular)

C-color (variation)

D-diameter larger than a pencil eraser


 Dr. Azizzadeh says, "Any new or changing color of the skin. Any lump under the skin needs to be evaluated by a biopsy or at least an evaluation by a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon, most often times dermatologists. But if it's a lump under the skin, then other things need to be thought of. In addition to what we talked about with the facial tumor, if there's a lump along the jawline or in front of the ear, we need to think about whether that tumor is a growth out of the prodded gland, which is a salivary gland. So essentially evaluation and biopsy are very, very important." 


Khloé Kardashian Had Melanoma Previously

The dermatologist examines the moles or acne of the patient with a dermatoscope. Prevention of melanoma

Kellie Reed, MD, board-certified dermatologist, Westlake Dermatology, Austin says, "Kardashian is reported to have had melanoma when she was 19. If you have one melanoma, it is important to know you have a greater risk of developing another melanoma, so it is important she continue with her routine full body skin cancer screenings with her board-certified dermatologists. Additionally, Khloe will want to continue to monitor her own skin once monthly, evaluating for any new, changing, bleeding, and/or growing skin lesions."   Dr. Azizzadeh states, "So she had melanoma in her back at the age of 19 and the suspicious skin changed as the biopsy appears to be a pre melanoma. There could be some genetic factors too. So she may have any of the genetic factors sun exposure, burn, fair skin and a history of burn to her back or face. But because she's young, there's probably a genetic component as well. Melanoma is a very, very important and important discussion because melanoma can present in a lot of different ways. The most common way is changing the color of the skin or mole that is existing with irregular borders and irregular edges. And any time there's a suspicious change in a mole or suspicion, it has suspicious discoloration of the skin that needs to be checked out. Also, melanoma can occasionally, very rarely have no color, but that's very, very rare. And melanomas are much more common in older individuals. But it is a definite issue that needs to be checked up very, very quickly."


Skin Cancer Risk Factors


According to Dr. Azizzadeh, "Typically fair skinned as well as extensive sun exposure and history of severe burns can be the three factors that can lead to increased risk of skin cancer." 

Dr. Reed shares, "Melanoma risk factors include:

-Unprotected and/or excessive UV exposure from sunlight or tanning meds

-A weakened immune system due to medications or a medical condition 

-Many moles on your body can put one at higher risk for developing a melanoma 

-Genetics; first degree family relative with melanoma can increase your chance of having a melanoma 

Dr. Kazlouskaya explains, "Sunburns and chronic sun exposure is a huge risk factor for cancerous skin tumors, but sometimes they may be genetic."


Always Pay Attention to Your Skin


Dr. Azizzadeh reminds us, "The most important thing is if there is anything, any lump or any change in skin or a history of previous skin cancers or family history, you need to get it checked out. Really, the most important thing is to go see a dermatologist, get it checked out, and get it biopsy. And if you've ever had a history of skin cancer, you need an annual checkup of your entire body, not just your face. You need a full body check to make sure that you do not develop skin cancer anywhere." 

Dr. Karen says, "As a dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon, I cannot stress enough the importance of regular skin surveillance by a dermatologist to evaluate for suspicious lesions or skin cancer. Among the most commonly cited reasons why people avoid seeking a skin examination by a physician are fear of surgery and potential scarring. In my practice, the DermTech pigmented lesion assay (DermTech Melanoma Test) utilizes a precision genomic assay to noninvasively (yet very accurately) detect melanoma. This test has a less than 1% chance of missing a melanoma diagnosis and can help physicians delineate lesions that absolutely require biopsy." 


Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer


Dr. Lal tells us, "Make sure you get your skin checked yearly by a board certified dermatologist. Make sure you wear sunscreen everyday to the face and neck SPF 30+ and avoid the sun during peak hours. If you live in sunny areas, invest in sun protective clothing and wear it often. Do NOT tan inside or outside. If you don't like sun protective clothing, look for a sun guard, an additive you can add to your laundry to help add sun protection factor to your clothes. Make sure you take a look at your medication list because certain medications like hydrochlorothiazide are associated with an increased risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers. If you are skin cancer prone, discuss the addition of Nicotinamide 500mg 2x a day with your PCP. This vitamin has been shown to help reduce the risk of skin cancer."

Dr. Wood says the following ways can help prevent skin cancer:

Limit Exposure: The sun is strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Try to schedule outdoor activities outside of this time window.

Wear Protective Clothing: Protective clothing is more effective than sunscreen. Choose tightly-woven fabrics and wide-brimmed hats that are UPF rated. A regular t-shirt has an SPF of about 5. 

Use Sunscreen: Non-comedogenic, mineral-based sunscreen won't cause your skin to break out. If you're swimming or sweating, reapply every 1-2 hours. While some sunscreen is water-resistant, there is no water-proof sunscreen. 


For added protection, certain supplements contain an antioxidant extracted from a plant known as Polypodium leucotomas which can offer additional protection from the sun. ISDIN SUNISDIN supplement and Heliocare are both great options for someone looking to add an additional sun protection to their routine. It should be noted this does not replace sunscreen but rather adds another layer of protection. 

 A little about SPF: 

SPF stands for Sun protection factor. SPF is a measure of how much UV radiation is required to produce sunburn on protected skin (i.e., in the presence of sunscreen) relative to the amount of solar energy required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin. This means an SPF of 15 allows one to be in the sun 15 times longer (when applied in adequate amounts) before reaching the same level of sunburn in unprotected skin. One should also know that most consumers do not apply adequate amounts of sunscreen to achieve the SPF that is printed on the sunscreen bottle. The amount of sunscreen required to adequately cover an adult body is about a shot glass worth of sunscreen.  One should also know that you can develop skin cancer even if you have not had a bad sunburn in your lifetime. "


Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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