Texas Surgical Dermatology, led by board certified dermatologists Dr. Tri H. Nguyen and Dr. George Hughes III, provides skin cancer tests and treatments to patients in Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Texas, and surrounding locations.
Diagnosing Skin Cancer
The dermatologist may diagnose skin cancer using the following approaches:
- The dermatologist will examine your skin to establish if your skin changes could be skin cancer. More testing may be required to confirm a diagnosis.
- Take a sample from suspicious-looking areas of the skin, also known as a skin biopsy. A biopsy can establish the presence and type of skin cancer.
- Determining the stage of the skin cancer if it is established that the patient has cancer indeed.
- The spread of superficial skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma is spreads rarely. Therefore, a biopsy that removes the full growth is frequently the only test a patient needs to undergo to establish the stage of the cancer. However, if the patient has Merkel cell carcinoma, melanoma, or large squamous cell carcinoma, then the physician can order more tests to understand the extent of the cancer.
- More tests may include image testing to assess the lymph nodes for possible cancer. The sentinel lymph node biopsy may be performed to remove a lymph node from the location and test it for cancer.
Physicians use Roman numerals from I up to IV to denote the stage of the cancer. Stage I cancers are restricted to the region where they start. Stage IV denotes advanced stages of cancer where the cancer has spread to other locations in the body.
The dermatologist may ask the following questions:
- When did you initially notice changes in your skin?
- Do you have a skin lesion that has changed or grown?
- Is there an itchy or bleeding lesion on your skin?
- How painful are your symptoms?
Skin Biopsy Types
If the dermatologist feels that there is a possibility of melanoma, the suspicious region will be taken out and sent to laboratory to be assessed under a microscope. This is known as a skin biopsy.
There are various techniques to conduct a skin biopsy. The doctor will determine the technique depending on the size of the impacted area, location on the body, and other aspects. Any biopsy will create at least a tiny scar. It is good to ask your doctor about scarring before the biopsy. A biopsy should be able to remove as much of the suspicious area as possible to arrive at the correct diagnosis.
A local anesthetic or numbing cream is injected into the location with a minute needle to perform a skin biopsy. This can feel like a prick or sting a bit while the medicine is administered. However, the biopsy itself will be painless.
For more information on procedures and treatments offered at Texas Surgical Dermatology PA please call 832.663.6566 or click here to contact our dermatologists. Helping patients in Houston, The Woodlands, Springs, Katy and other surrounding areas of Texas.