Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Skin Cysts and Tumors

    Skin cysts and tumors are skin problems that sometimes cause pain. Skin cysts are non-cancerous closed pockets or pouches of tissue that are filled with fluid or other material. They feel like small peas beneath the surface of the skin and usually feel smooth and roll under the skin when pressure is applied to them.

    Skin tumors are abnormal growths of tissue that can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (harmless). Skin tumors become extremely common as people get older.

    Recommended Related to Skin Problems & Treatments

    Excessive Sweating: A Sticky Subject

    For Crystal Barry, excessive sweating wasn't just a nuisance. It shaped her daily activities, even her personality. Barry, 24, a student from St. Louis, avoided team sports and crowded events. She never wore tank tops or sheer fabrics and often had to bring extra shirts to school after her first shirt was soaked through with sweat. She shied away from social situations, especially ones involving the opposite sex. "I don't like to be around people if I stink," she tells WebMD. "I get real quiet." Scientists...

    Read the Excessive Sweating: A Sticky Subject article > >

    Some common benign tumors include:

    • Warts (skin tumor resulting from a virus)
    • Seborrheic keratoses (growths on the skin ranging from light skin color to dark brown)
    • Nevi (skin growths such as moles or birthmarks)

    Skin Cysts

    What Causes Skin Cysts?

    Cysts can develop as a result of infection, clogging of sebaceous glands, or around foreign bodies.

    How Are Skin Cysts Treated?

    Some cysts disappear on their own without treatment. Others require treatment that involves lancing (piercing with a sharp object) the cyst and draining it. Some cysts can be treated with an injection of cortisone medication. Cysts that do not respond to treatment can be removed through surgery.

    Skin Tumors

    What Causes Skin Tumors?

    The cause of skin tumors is not known, but some people may be likely to develop more or less of them based on heredity.

    How Are Skin Tumors Treated?

    Often, no treatment is required for skin tumors. However, methods to treat skin tumors may include:

    • Curettage and electrodesiccation: This involves scraping away the tumor tissues with a sharp surgical instrument called a curette. An electrosurgical unit may then be used to stop bleeding.
    • Surgical excision: This involves cutting into the skin, removing the growth, and closing the wound with stitches.
    • Cryosurgery: During this procedure, liquid nitrogen is sprayed directly onto the skin or an instrument is used to freeze the tissue.

    Pain is alleviated once the cyst or tumor is removed. For short-term pain resulting from treatment, Tylenol or Aleve may be taken.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on January 13, 2016

    Today on WebMD

    chafing
    Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
    woman with dyed dark hair
    What it says about your health.
     
    woman with cleaning products
    Top causes of the itch that rashes.
    atopic dermatitus
    Identify and treat common skin problems.
     
    itchy skin
    Article
    shingles rash on skin
    Article
     
    woman with skin tag
    Quiz
    Woman washing face
    Video
     
    woman washing her hair in sink
    Video
    close up of womans bare neck
    Tools
     
    Feet
    Slideshow
    woman with face cream
    Quiz