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How do physicians diagnose skin cancer?

A skin examination by a dermatologist is the way to get a definitive diagnosis of skin cancer. In many cases, the appearance alone is sufficient to make the diagnosis.

A skin biopsy is usually used to confirm a suspicion of skin cancer. This is performed by numbing the area under the tumor with a local anesthetic such as lidocaine. A small portion of the tumor is sliced away and sent for examination by a pathologist, who looks at the tissue under a microscope and renders a diagnosis based on the characteristics of the tumor.

Return to Skin Cancer

See what others are saying

Comment from: John, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: November 02

My dad has been diagnosed with skin cancer. He has pink itchy scaly discoloration especially on his back. Recently he developed some growths on his head and neck, the doctors removed them but they are back. They are like boils with bloody discharge that never dries up. My dad is 83.

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