Melanomas can often be diagnosed based on the symptoms or signs a patient may show.
If the patient has an abnormal area on the skin, the dermatologist will assess it and conduct certain tests to determine whether it is a melanoma, or another form of skin cancer, or some other skin condition. If the diagnosis indicates melanoma, the doctor may order further tests to determine whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
Suncoast Skin Solutions is a leading dermatology practice, headed by board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski. Suncoast provides skin cancer testing to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, The Villages Central Florida, Florida, and surrounding locations in this majestic part of the country.
Physical History and Medical Examination
During the physical exam, the dermatologist will assess the shape, size, texture, and color of the suspected area. They will check to see whether the skin in this area is crusting, bleeding, or oozing. They will also examine the patient’s body for moles and spots that could indicate skin cancer.
The doctor may also feel the lymph nodes under the underarm, groin, or neck. These nodes are small, bean-sized groups of immune cells. Melanoma usually spreads to the lymph nodes initially, making them more prominent.
Some dermatologists use a technique known as dermatoscopy to assess the skin and spots better in conjunction with a physical exam. The doctor uses a dermatoscope to examine the skin more closely. A dermatoscope is a special magnifying lens with a light source. The doctor may also take digital pictures of the area.
Dermascopy can enhance the accuracy of detecting skin cancers sooner when used by a prudent and reliable dermatologist. It can often help to determine and reassure patients that the skin spot is most likely benign or non-cancerous, and does not require a biopsy.
If the doctor suspects that the skin spots may be melanoma, the area is removed and sent over to a laboratory for testing under a microscope. This procedure is known as a biopsy.
There are various methods to perform a skin biopsy. The doctor will select a technique depending on the location of the suspicious area on the body, its size, and other aspects. Any type of biopsy may leave at least a small scar. Diverse methods can cause varied scars.
The patient should discuss scarring with the doctor before the biopsy. A biopsy, regardless of its type, should be able to remove adequate amount of tissue from the suspicious area so that the doctor can make an accurate diagnosis.
A local anesthetic or numbing medication is administered before a skin biopsy. This is injected into the target area with a fine needle. The patient will feel a prick and mild stinging when the medication is injected. After that, the patient should not feel any pain during the biopsy procedure.
Certain new forms of biopsies, such as Pigmented Lesion Assay (PLA), can be performed without the requirement to remove skin samples.
The committed Suncoast Skin Solutions is an advanced skin care clinic receiving patients from Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, The Villages Central Florida, Florida, and nearby areas in the sensational and awesome state of Florida for skin cancer treatments.
SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Petersburg / Pinellas County, Brandon, Lutz (2 locations), Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, Largo at Bardmoor, Daytona Beach, Sarasota, and Palm Harbor, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.