Skin Cancer - Diagnosis

Anyone who notices a suspicious-looking blemish on the skin should see a medical doctor. The doctor will ask about the history of the blemish, such as how long it has been there and whether it itches or bleeds, as well as other questions about the patient's health.

If a skin cancer is suspected, the doctor may take a biopsy of the blemish. A biopsy is a medical procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed, usually with a thin needle. The tissue is then studied under a microscope. The presence of cancer cells can be detected with the microscope. The type of cancer present, if any, can be determined by the appearance of the cells.

It may also be necessary to determine how far the cancer has spread, if at all. Tests used to make this determination include X rays, blood tests, and various imaging tests. Imaging tests are tests used to study the composition and function of internal organs.

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