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Skin Cancer Diagnosis (Nonmelanoma)
If you have already received a nonmelanoma skin cancer diagnosis, the experts at Moffitt Cancer Center’s Cutaneous Oncology Program can review your previous biopsies, labwork and scans to provide you with a second opinion. Or, if you are seeking an initial diagnosis, you can visit Moffitt with or without a referral, where we offer the latest in diagnostic procedures, including lymphoscintigraphy (lymphatic mapping) and sentinel node biopsy.
After reviewing your medical history and conducting a physical exam, we may perform a biopsy in order to make the diagnosis. Since nonmelanoma skin cancer is less likely to spread than melanoma, a biopsy is usually the only testing needed for an accurate diagnosis; imaging scans are rarely required to check lymph nodes and other organs for signs of cancer. Additionally, biopsies can often remove the cancer entirely so that no further treatment is required.
There may be cases, however, that require further treatment if the biopsy reveals cancer cells at the edges of the tissue that was removed. There are several options for biopsy, of which the most common include:
- Shave biopsy – a sharp, sterile blade is used to “shave off” the growth
- Punch biopsy – an instrument called a punch, or trephine, is used to remove a circle of tissue from the area that appears abnormal
- Incisional biopsy – a scalpel is used to remove part of the skin abnormality
- Excisional biopsy – a scalpel is used to remove the entire growth as well as some of the tissue surrounding it
The tissue is evaluated under a microscope, and dermatopathologists then confirm the skin cancer diagnosis. At Moffitt, our multispecialty skin cancer team collaborates on every case, ensuring that a diagnosis is made by not just one, but several professionals across all specialties. If further treatment is required, the entire team will work together to create an individualized plan for each patient.