Did you known that it’s possible for your fat cells to become cancerous? Yes it’s true, from time to time the fat cells in your body can develop into benign tumors. While technically a form of cancer, these tumors, known as lipomas, are always benign. This means that they never spread to other parts of the body, and they’re generally not considered a serious medical condition. They are seen in both men and women. Children, adults, and the elderly can get lipomas.
Lipomas appear as nodules which grow in the deep layers of your skin. The nodules are typically equal in diameter and dome shaped. Most lipomas are between one and four inches in diameter. It is possible for some lipomas to become considerably larger than this.
When you touch a lipoma nodule, it will feel smooth and slightly doughy. If you get a finger on each side of the lipoma and give it a wiggle, it will feel like it is moving under the skin and not attached solidly to the local tissues.
Many people will experience more than one lipoma at a time. It is not unusual to see several of them growing on different parts of your body at the same time.
This skin over the site of a lipoma will appear normal. There will be no rash, redness, or swelling associated with the lipoma. Lipomas are not infectious, and do not activate your immune system causing inflammation. A vast majority of lipomas cause absolutely no symptoms whatsoever. In some cases, if the lipoma is large enough, it is possible that it could interfere with your muscles or joints, especially if is placed inconveniently.
The exact cause of a lipoma is not well understood. There is some evidence to believe that there may be genetic associations, but this has not been well established. Some research has shown that lipomas may have a tendency to appear after the local skin has become injured in some way, although again this is not a well-established association.
Because lipomas are benign, and have no potential to spread to other organs of the body. They do not require active treatment. Despite this, many people will choose to have them surgically removed, as they can become visible as they grow larger. For cosmetic reasons, these larger lipomas can be removed.
Your doctor can provide more information about lipomas. If you have questions about lipomas, and how they can be removed, make an appointment to see your doctor. Although lipomas are not considered a serious medical condition, there are other illnesses which can cause a similar mass. Only your doctor can determine if the cause of a lump under the skin is a lipoma or something more insidious.