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How do I know if I have skin cancer?

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All potentially cancerous skin growths must be biopsied to confirm a cancer diagnosis. Depending on the suspected type of skin cancer, the biopsy techniques vary in slight -- but crucial -- ways.

Any potential melanoma requires a surgical biopsy. This requires the removal of the entire growth with a scalpel, if possible. A pathologist then studies the sample under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Skin Cancer."

National Cancer Institute: "Skin Cancer."

American Cancer Society: "Skin Cancer: Basal and Squamous Cells."

American Cancer Society: "Melanoma Skin Cancer."

American Cancer Society: "Targeted therapy for melanoma skin cancer."

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on August 23, 2017

SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology: "Skin Cancer."

National Cancer Institute: "Skin Cancer."

American Cancer Society: "Skin Cancer: Basal and Squamous Cells."

American Cancer Society: "Melanoma Skin Cancer."

American Cancer Society: "Targeted therapy for melanoma skin cancer."

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on August 23, 2017

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What tests are used to diagnose skin cancer?

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