Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it goes through a lot to protect us. In turn, we need to make sure to take good care of it. Skin cancer can be a very scary thing to face, but at Steele Creek Dermatology in Charlotte, NC, we make testing for cancer quick, easy, and as stress-free as possible.
What Happens During a Skin Cancer Test?
What Is a Skin Cancer Test?
Skin cancer is an incredibly common type of cancer. There are several different types of skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and basal cell carcinoma. All of these types of cancer affect the skin in different ways.
Cancer of the skin usually makes an appearance on the skin as an initial abnormality. Bumps, moles, or lesions on the skin may indicate cancer. However, they could also be benign or caused by another issue.
A skin cancer test is used to determine whether or not an abnormality on your skin is cancerous. An initial examination may be performed by your general practitioner. If they find anything concerning on your skin, they may refer you to a specialist to investigate further.
Who Should Get a Test?
“Cancer” is one of the scariest words a person can hear. But it’s important to stay on top of your health, especially if you notice anything unusual on your skin. You should be getting physical examinations done about once a year, and during these exams, your doctor should check your skin for any signs of cancer.
If you have particularly fair skin, naturally have a lot of moles, or you spend a lot of time in the sun then your doctor should pay particular care to check for skin abnormalities. If you have received UVB treatment for conditions like psoriasis, that may also put you at risk for cancer.
You should also check yourself over frequently for any signs of bumps, lesions, red patches, or unusual moles. If you find anything, then it’s a good idea to arrange for a cancer test.
How Do You Prepare for Your Test?
One of the benefits of checking your own skin regularly for signs of abnormalities is that it can help you prepare for your skin cancer test. Check every part of your body, including your scalp and behind your ears. Use your fingers and not just your eyes to check for lumps and bumps.
If you find anything that concerns you, take note of it and bring it up to your doctor during your examination.
If the area of concern is also of concern to your doctor, then additional testing will be recommended. Our team uses a dermoscope to get a better look at the skin and help determine whether or not the area of concern might be cancerous. Further testing will be performed if it’s deemed necessary.
What Happens During the Test?
Getting tested for any type of cancer can be extremely stressful. Our goal is to make the process of getting tested fast, simple, safe, and as low-stress as possible. At your initial skin examination, your doctor will check for any skin abnormalities and ask questions regarding how long ago the abnormality appeared, whether it’s changed in size, and whether it gets itchy or bleeds.
If you are referred to us for more testing, our team will check the abnormality with our dermoscope. This tool allows us to get a more accurate look at the structure of your skin abnormality. If it appears to be an area of concern, we will then perform a biopsy.
A biopsy is when a piece of tissue is taken for further examination. The process is, in general, very fast and you shouldn’t experience much discomfort. The sample will then be closely studied for any signs of cancer.
What Happens If Something Unusual Is Found?
A biopsy is necessary to determine whether or not the abnormality on your skin is cancerous. If it is determined to be cancerous, then the type of cancer must be determined next. Depending on the kind of cancer and whether or not it has spread to other body parts, the cancer might be able to be surgically removed.
If the cancerous area is fairly small, then it may be able to be removed with excision or curettage. This is when the cancer cut out completely. For larger areas, Mohs surgery may be required, which is when the skin is removed layer by layer until the cancer is removed entirely.
In more severe cases, stronger treatments may be required. You may be recommended radiation, chemotherapy, or other types of treatments depending on the severity of the cancer.
Book Your Skin Cancer Test Today
Although going in for a skin cancer test may feel stressful, getting checked regularly is important. Your doctor should take a look at your skin as part of your annual checkup. If you notice anything abnormal on your skin, then booking an examination as soon as possible is crucial. The sooner cancer is caught and diagnosed, the better the prognosis will be. Book your test with us at Steele Creek Dermatology in Charlotte, NC today.