Skin Cancer Diagnosis
Early diagnosis can dramatically increase your chances of quickly overcoming problems with skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, with roughly 3.5 million new cases diagnosed each year. If you notice any abnormalities on your skin, it is important to have it professionally checked as soon as possible. Dr. Paine can perform a skin biopsy to thoroughly analyze a sample of your skin tissue and determine whether further treatment is necessary.
Should You Consider a Skin Biopsy?
Skin biopsies are most commonly performed to diagnose skin cancer, but Dr. Paine may also conduct the procedure for other conditions including psoriasis or a bacterial/fungal infection. If you notice any changes in the appearance of your skin, undergoing a skin biopsy will help determine what is causing the problem and can lead to early and effective treatment.
Common symptoms of skin cancer include changes in the color, shape, size or appearance of a mole or an area of skin—also known as a skin lesion. If you notice any of these signs, you should contact a specialist and schedule and to determine whether or not skin cancer treatment is required.
A skin biopsy can be performed for anyone experiencing a suspicious skin lesion. Dr. Paine will explain your procedure in detail during your consultation. The type of biopsy he will perform will be based on your unique condition, the size of the skin lesion, and where it is located.
The Skin Biopsy Procedure
There are three different types of methods Dr. Paine may perform to acquire the skin sample:
With a shave biopsy, Dr. Paine will gently shave off the growth using the edge of a scalpel. This type of skin biopsy uses only local anesthesia and requires no stitches.
A punch biopsy removes a circular piece of skin using a sharp, hole punch-like tool that is placed over the suspicious lesion. Forceps are then used to lift the sample and prepare it for testing. Local anesthesia is used, but stitches may be necessary once the sample is removed.
Excision biopsies are necessary for larger lesions. Dr. Paine will remove the entire suspicious area of skin using a scalpel, and will then close the wound using stitches. Local anesthesia is used for this method of biopsy as well. In some cases, a skin graft may be needed to cover the area from where the lesion was removed.
Once Dr. Paine has obtained the skin sample, it is placed into a solution and examined under a microscope for analysis. Dr. Paine will then go over the results of your biopsy with you and will discuss further treatment, if necessary.
For more information about procedures, or to schedule your skin biopsy consultation, give our office a call to speak with Dr. A. James Paine, Jr.