Doctors have removed a five-inch cancerous “dragon horn” from the back of a patient.
The “enormous” growth developed over three years, according to a case report published by the British Medical Journal.
The patient, a 50-year-old labourer, was operated on by plastic surgeons at the Countess of Chester Hospital in Cheshire.
Doctors conducted a “wide local excision” of the 14cm tumour under general anaesthetic and performed a soft tissue reconstruction using skin from his thigh.
The patient had previously had no significant sun exposure and no family history of skin malignancy.
The article’s authors, Agata Marta Plonczak, Ramy Aly, Hrsikesa Sharma, and Anca Breahna said they were raising awareness of skin cancer.
They wrote: “We report a rare case of an extremely large well-differentiated SCC [squamous cell carcinoma] that was neglected by a patient living in a developed country with access to free healthcare.
“This highlights that despite current public skin cancer awareness and rigorous healthcare measures, cases like this can still arise and slip through the net.”
Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common non-melanoma skin cancer, but most cases are diagnosed and treated early before becoming what the medical community refer to as “dragon horns”.