Skin cancer is one of today’s more prevalent malignancies. The good news is that skin cancer–even dangerous malignant melanoma–can be removed and treated successfully when detected and treated early. Let’s talk about how skin cancer diagnosis works and where you can go for effective skincare diagnosis in Miami, FL.
Skin Cancer Looks Different
Many people first detect skin cancers when they notice a difference in their skin. Maybe a new spot has appeared. It’s sore, rough in texture, and otherwise unusual and persists.
For other individuals, a long-standing mole changes its color, shape, margins, and symmetry. These changes should be shown to a skin doctor or primary care physician for further examination to determine if a spot is harmless or malignant.
If your PCP or dermatologist suspects you have a cancerous skin lesion, you may have a diagnostic procedure called a biopsy. A biopsy helps identify whether or not your lesion is malignant, confirms its type, and details the extent of spread beyond the original site, along with other tests.
With this information, the skin cancer specialist will work with you to determine a care plan to remove the problem area and to plan additional treatments as needed.
How Skin Cancer Diagnosis Works
There are several different types of skin cancer biopsies. The kind your skin cancer specialist selects depends largely on the lesion’s location. Local anesthetic is usually part of the biopsy, so the patient is comfortable. Afterward, sutures may close the wound as needed.
Types of biopsy procedures are the following:
- Incisional, which cuts into the spot and removes a small tissue sample
- Excisional, which removes the entire lesion
- Shave biopsy, which removes only a thin layer of tissue
- Needle aspiration, which withdraws fluid and tissue from the interior of the lesion
- Lymph node removal, or excision of nearby lymph tissue to aid in staging the extent of cancer
- Punch biopsy, which uses a special tool to penetrate the full thickness of the spot and to extract a sample
Specially trained lab technicians and physicians examine biopsied material under high-resolution microscopes to determine if cancer is present or if the tissue is benign. Mohs micrographic surgery examines thin pieces of tissue layer by layer to determine the depth of a cancerous lesion. This spares the patient undue tissue removal and subsequent scarring.
Additional Testing for Skin Cancer
Depending on the kind of skin cancer, the provider may determine that more testing is needed to determine the kind of cancer and if it has spread beyond its site of origin. Cancer that has spread to adjacent tissue, lymph nodes, or organs, such as the lung and brain, is said to have metastasized. If it has spread, the doctor can stage it (I, II, III, or IV) according to severity.
As such, the physician may order genetic testing, X-rays of the lungs, ultrasound examination of the lymph nodes, CT scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Results from these assessments help in planning the most effective treatment possible for skin cancer.
Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in Miami, FL
To learn more about the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancer, call our office at (305) 461-2000to arrange a consultation with cancer expert Dr. TJ Giuffrida. He’s renowned for his expertise and for treatment plans which work effectively.
Alternatively, you can request a visit online.