Skin cancer has to be detected early in life because it is 100% curable if found and treated early.
Self-examination: It is easy to detect skin cancer by skin self-examination. A person has to look for the various symptoms and recognize skin cancer. But in case of doubt the individual has to consult a dermatologist.
Consulting a dermatologist: A specialist in skin diseases is called a dermatologist. When a person has the above-mentioned symptoms, a dermatologist has to be consulted. Based on clinical examination and the history elicited from the patient, the dermatologist comes to the surmise of skin cancer.
A biopsy, however, is the only certain way of identifying skin cancer, and determining the specific type of cancer. This involves anaesthetizing the area and removing the lesion, or part of it, for microscopic examination. Skin biopsy is generally a quick and simple procedure; it is usually performed in a dermatologist's office or an outpatient setting using a local anaesthetic. The type of biopsy performed depends on the type of skin cancer suspected, the position of the tumor, and the tumor's size. Two types of biopsy are done for most skin cancers:
An excisional biopsy: in case of nonmelanoma cancer, the entire visible tumor is removed. In the case of malignant melanoma additional removal of a wider margin of normal tissue around the site is also essential.
An incisional biopsy: it is otherwise called as core biopsy. A portion of the lesion is removed and is usually performed on a large lesion. It is the most common type of biopsy.
After the sample is removed it is subjected to microscopic examination. With the help of these results the dermatologist divides the skin cancer into two stages
Localized skin cancer
, which has not moved beyond the visible tumor.
, which has spread beyond the original site.