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Can Skin Boils Be Cancerous?

By Tiesha Whatley ; Updated July 27, 2017

Boils, or furuncles, are infected hair follicles deep inside the skin. They are quite common and usually last for about five to 10 days. They tend to form on the neck, buttocks, face and breasts. Although common boils are not cancerous, what you may think is a boil could actually be a symptom of two types of skin cancers. To make sure that what you have is a boil and not skin cancer, read the information below and see your doctor.

Causes

Bacteria in the hair follicles on the skin is the main cause of boils. New boils form when other boils breaks open and spread the bacteria to other parts of the skin.

Signs

Boils can appear suddenly and be very painful. They are puss-filled red bumps, much like the kind that could be cancerous.

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Treatment

Boils can go away without treatment in just a few days. If medical treatment is needed, a doctor will let the puss out of the boil by opening it up. Antibiotics will be prescribed to fight any potential infections.

Warning

If the boil is persistent and doesn’t go away within 10 days, get checked for skin cancer. Sometimes doctors will check for cancer anyway when they treat boils.

Home Treatment

Use a hot compress or heating pad to get rid of boils quickly.

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