Your physician may be able to exam a suspicious area of skin for skin cancer, but only with a biopsy can skin cancer be diagnosed.
If your doctor suspects skin cancer, he or she will perform a biopsy of the skin. During a biopsy, the doctor removes part or all of the suspicious area as well as some surrounding healthy tissue. The tissue will be tested in a lab and analyzed by a pathologist.
There are different types of skin biopsies, and depending on the size of the suspicious area, your doctor may choose to do one over another.
Skin biopsies can cause scarring. Be sure to discuss with your doctor the type of skin biopsy that will be performed, and your options for minimizing scar tissue.