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Cherry angiomas are amongst the most common benign vascular tumors. They can be found anywhere from head to toe with the most common location on the torso. They tend to be about 1 to 5 mm in size and either flat red macule to raised red, purple or blueish papules.
The cause of cherry angiomas is largely unknown. They likely have a genetic component. There are some studies that have linked having more than 50 angiomas as one of the risk factors for developing a second melanoma in patients who have had a history of melanoma.
Some studies have also linked “eruptive angiomas” as a possible association to the development of melanoma as well. That being said, cherry angiomas are exceedingly common and I find them on the vast majority of skin cancer screenings. They are not limited to fair skinned individuals as I routinely find them in skin of color.
Angiomas tend to be asymptomatic with a few factors influencing the potential for symptoms. As angiomas become more raised at times, they can become irritated or inflamed. Another challenge is that they can at times be found in areas where shaving can lead to frequent nicks and cuts. This can be frustrating as they can bleed quite a bit.
Angiomas are primarily treated (if needed) by electrocautery or laser. Laser options include KTP lasers, pulse dye lasers and Nd:Yag. Sclerotherapy can be considered as a treatment option. I find most patients respond best to electrocautery. I’ve had patients that request literally dozens of angiomas to be treated at a time and it is generally tolerated with little care needed.