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This man had a cancerous ‘dragon horn’ on his back

TORONTO — A U.K. man who had a cancerous “dragon horn” growing on his lower back had it removed, according to a case study in the British Medical Journal.

The case study, which was published in December, said the patient was a 50-year-old manual labourer “with no significant sun exposure” and no family history of skin cancer.

cancerous dragon horn
A U.K. man had a cancerous “dragon horn” removed from his back that had been growing for three years. (BMJ Case Reports 2019)

The horn had been growing for three years and measured 14 centimetres by 6 centimetres by 5.5 centimetres, or about the size of a modern smartphone, by the time doctors removed it. 

Referred to in the case study as a “dragon horn,” the man’s growth was eventually confirmed as squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common non-melanoma skin cancer.

Most cases are diagnosed and treated early before becoming “dragon horns,” the case study said, adding that this “rare” case was due to neglect from a patient “living in a developed country with access to free healthcare.”

Doctors cut away the growth under local anesthetic and repaired the tissues with a skin graft from the man’s thigh.

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