Dr Jeremy Banky, Specialist Dermatologist, Melbourne

Diagnosis of Skin Cancer

DermascopeTo diagnose a skin cancer requires many years of training and expertise. Dr Banky has had four years of specialised training in dermatology and skin cancer, followed by a fellowship in skin cancer, laser and cosmetic dermatology.

There are a range of treatment options, and this often depends on the site, type of skin cancer, the patient’s age and whether previous treatments have been used.

A small punch biopsy will often be performed to diagnose a skin cancer. This involves local anaesthesia and an instrument to remove a few millimetres of the skin cancer so that it can be sent to a pathologist to confirm the diagnosis. A small stitch may or may not be used to close the biopsy site. Alternatively, a 'shave biopsy' may be performed which removes the top layers of skin, to result in a small 'graze'.  Results of the biopsy are often received within 2-3 days and treatment will be instituted once the result is confirmed.

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