Exams and Tests

Nonmelanoma skin cancer is diagnosed by:

  • Your medical history. Your doctor will ask when the skin change occurred, whether you have been exposed to substances (such as arsenic) that can cause skin cancer, and whether you have any personal or family history of skin cancer.
  • A physical exam of the skin growth. Your doctor can often tell what a skin growth is by looking at it. He or she may decide to monitor changes in the skin growth or take a sample of the skin growth for further testing.
  • A skin biopsy. This is usually done when an area of skin has changed color, shape, size, or appearance or has not healed and skin cancer is suspected. A skin biopsy also may be done if the cause of a skin problem is not easily identified.

Early detection

Take steps to detect skin cancer early:

  • Examine your skin camera.gif once a month, and ask your doctor to look at any suspicious skin growths.
  • Talk to your doctor about your own personal risk for skin cancer so that you understand the precautions that you need to take.
  • Have your doctor look for any suspicious skin growths during any health examination.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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