At SkinVision, we focus on detecting signs of skin cancer in the early stages so that you get to a doctor in time to follow up, and start treatment if necessary. But before any intervention, an official diagnosis needs to be made. So how does the skin cancer diagnosis take place? Let’s take a look.
Please note that this article is for information purposes only. For questions about diagnosis and treatment for your personal situation, consult your doctor at any time.
After having checked your skin with SkinVision and visiting a doctor for a closer look at a skin spot that needs more attention, the first next step is an examination. An examination means that your doctor may look at your skin to determine whether the spotted changes are likely to be skin cancer. In some cases, this step is sufficient to establish a diagnosis, but usually, further investigation is needed.
If further examination is necessary, the doctor will remove a sample of the skin tissue for testing, also known as a biopsy. A biopsy can determine whether you have skin cancer and, if so, what type of skin cancer you have. The outcome of the biopsy will determine whether or not you need further treatment. If the skin cancer diagnosis indicates superficial skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma, then the removal and biopsy of the entire tissue surrounding the cancerous skin spot could be sufficient treatment. Otherwise, further steps are necessary.
Skin cancer that spreads
For other types of skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma, there is a risk of spreading throughout your body into different organs. When the skin cancer diagnosis identifies these types of skin cancer, further testing is needed to find out if the skin cancer has spread. Additional tests might include imaging tests to examine the nearby lymph nodes.
During this process of skin cancer diagnosis, the doctor also identifies the stage of skin cancer. Skin cancer stages range from 1 to 4 and represent its severity. In stages 1 and 2, skin cancer is only present in the skin and hasn’t spread to other areas of the body yet. In stages 3 and 4, skin cancer has spread (metastasized) to other areas of the body.