Understanding Skin CancerDownload this book (pdf, 898.07 kb)
Skin Cancer diagnosis
Your doctor will first look at the suspicious spot, mole or freckle. If a skin cancer is suspected, a biopsy will usually be done to confirm the diagnosis.
- A quick and simple procedure.
- Your GP or specialist will give you a local anaesthetic to numb the area.
- A sample will be taken from the skin spot or the spot will be completely cut out.
- You will usually have stitches to close the wound and help it heal.
The tissue that is cut out will be sent to a laboratory where a pathologist will examine it under a microscope. It takes about a week to receive the test results. If all the cancer is removed during the biopsy, this will probably be the only treatment required.
Dealing with the diagnosis
Most skin cancers do not pose a serious risk to your health. However, being told you have cancer can come as a shock and many different emotions may arise.
If you have any concerns, ask your doctor or call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.