Approximately 20% of Americans will develop skin cancer at some point during their lifetime. Considering the statistics, everyone should be checking their own skin regularly and seek professional screenings if they fall into a high risk group. If the patient notices an abnormal or changing mole or if an abnormality is caught during a screening, Dr. Soleymani will order a biopsy to test the growth for cancerous cells or other diagnoses like skin infections or dermatitis.
During a biopsy, a sample of the tissue is removed and sent for further testing to determine the kind of growth and whether it is benign or malignant. Typically, the biopsy site will be cleaned, marked and an anesthetic applied. Then the doctor will extract a sample from the area using one of a variety of techniques. The sample may be taken using a shave biopsy where a scalpel is used to shave off the growth. The doctor could also use a punch biopsy, where a small tool which resembles a cookie cutter is placed over the growth, pushed down and rotated to remove a small circular piece of the skin. Another method is excision, where the entire growth is removed with a scalpel. This is the only method which will require a stitch to stop the bleeding.
Most biopsy results are returned within three to 10 days. If the results are abnormal it could be a number of skin disorders, not necessarily cancer. The sample will also be assessed to determine if the cells are benign, or harmless, and to identify the issue. Other diseases like lupus, psoriasis or vasculitis could cause the abnormal growth. Or it could be caused by something as simple as a bacterial or fungal infection.
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"My daughter has very dry skin and every time she came home from swimming class, her skin would have dry patches and red dots. Dr Dave took care of it."