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What tests can diagnose skin cancer?

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If you think a mole or other skin lesion has turned into skin cancer, your primary care provider will probably refer you to a dermatologist. The dermatologist will examine any moles in question and, in many cases, the entire skin surface. Any lesions that are difficult to identify, or are thought to be skin cancer, may then be checked. Tests for skin cancer may include:

  • The doctor may use a handheld device called MelaFind to scan the lesion. A computer program then evaluates images of the lesion to indicate if it's cancerous.
  • A sample of skin (biopsy) will be taken so that the suspicious area of skin can be examined under a microscope.
  • A biopsy can almost always be done in the dermatologist's office.

SOURCES: 

National Cancer Institute. 

National Institutes of Health. 

WebMD Medical Reference from the American College of Physicians: “Section 12 VIII Lung Cancer.”

News release, FDA.

American Cancer Society.

American Lung Association. 

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 05, 2019

SOURCES: 

National Cancer Institute. 

National Institutes of Health. 

WebMD Medical Reference from the American College of Physicians: “Section 12 VIII Lung Cancer.”

News release, FDA.

American Cancer Society.

American Lung Association. 

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on February 05, 2019

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If a biopsy confirms the presence of a melanoma, what further tests can determine the spread of the disease?

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