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What tests are used to diagnose skin cancer?

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If your doctor diagnoses you with melanoma, he may order additional tests to assess the degree of cancer spread (a.k.a. metastasis). They include:

Skin growths that are most likely basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or other forms of non-melanoma can be biopsied in various ways. Part or all of the growth can be taken with a scalpel for examination under a microscope.

  • Imaging. Your doctor will order one or more tests to look for metastasis. They include CT scan, MRI, PET scan, bone scan, and chest X-ray.
  • Additional biopsies. Using a variety of techniques, your doctor may want to get tissue samples from lymph nodes.

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 procedures do doctors use to treat skin cancer?

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