Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Accurate diagnosis is essential to choosing the best treatment for your type and stage of skin cancer. At Fox Chase Cancer Center, our highly experienced team uses state-of-the-art tools and procedures to carefully evaluate skin cancer.

Skin Biopsy

Skin cancers can often be diagnosed with a biopsy. After numbing the skin with a local anesthetic, a small sample of tissue is taken from the area. In some cases, the entire growth is removed. A pathologist then looks at the tissue under a microscope to see if it is a skin cancer.

There are four common types of skin biopsies:

  • Punch biopsy: The doctor removes a circle of tissue from the abnormal area
  • Incisional biopsy:  The doctor removes part of the growth
  • Excisional biopsy: The doctor removes the entire growth and some tissue around it
  • Shave biopsy: The doctor shaves off the abnormal growth

The type of biopsy depends on the size, shape and location of the abnormal area on the skin. There is some risk of scarring when skin biopsies are done. Fox Chase skin cancer specialists are skilled at performing skin biopsies that minimize scarring and promote rapid healing.

If a skin cancer is found, our team of skin cancer doctors works closely to review your case and map out a personalized treatment plan that includes the most appropriate therapies for your cancer. Then we take the time to help you understand your options and make informed decisions about your care.