Diagnosis of Skin Cancer

Dr. Jan Peter Dank, MD, Dermatologist, discusses the diagnosis of skin cancer.

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Dr. Jan Peter Dank, MD, Dermatologist, discusses the diagnosis of skin cancer.
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Featuring Dr. Jan Peter Dank, MD, Dermatologist

Duration: 1 minute, 5 seconds

Before a skin cancer is treated, it has to be diagnosed. 

So, the first step a doctor is going to take in diagnosing skin cancer is to do a skin biopsy. This is a pretty simple outpatient procedure; it’s done under local anesthesia. They make the skin numb, and they take a little sample of skin that’s submitted to the lab and looked at under the microscope.

That allows them to confirm that it’s a skin cancer, to type the skin cancer. Is it basal cell, squamous cell or melanoma? And there’s all sorts of subtypes within those that will help the doctor make the best decision for its management.  

When you go in to see your doctor about the spot you have a concern about, allow the doctor to do a head to toe skin examination. People can have multiple skin cancers, and sometimes the skin cancer is not the spot that you’re concerned about. 

If you have a brown or black spot on your skin that looks like a mole that’s changing its size, shape and color – that’s a sign that it could be a melanoma. Please see a doctor and get that spot evaluated. 

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Presenter: Dr. Jan Peter Dank, Dermatologist, Bellingham, WA

Local Practitioners: Dermatologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.