If you have unusual growths on your skin or changes in the shape or color of moles, you may need a skin biopsy to check for skin cancer. Skin biopsies are very common, as an estimated 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer through this procedure every day in the United States.
At Balcones Dermatology & Aesthetics in Austin, Texas, board certified dermatologist David A. Bushore, MD, offers comprehensive skin evaluations and biopsies on-site to identify skin cancer in the earliest stages. Early detection makes skin cancer easier to treat and lessens the likelihood that the cancer will spread.
What to know about skin cancer
Skin cancer develops when skin cells grow uncontrollably. This abnormal cell growth can be triggered by prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun.
There are three types of skin cancer that we diagnose and treat:
Basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing type of skin cancer that generally doesn’t spread to other areas of your body. This cancer type affects the outermost layer of your skin and most often develops on the neck and head.
Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma include raised pink bumps that look waxy.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is a more aggressive type of skin cancer that affects the deeper layers of your skin. The cancer typically develops on the head, neck, lips, ears, hands, and other areas exposed to the sun.
Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include patches of red, rough, scaly skin.
Melanoma is a less common type of skin cancer, but it’s the deadliest form. This type of skin cancer develops in the cells responsible for making pigments that give skin its color.
You may notice new moles, changes in existing moles, or irregular lesions on your skin.
Getting help for cancer-related changes in your skin
If you have any of these symptoms, you should schedule a skin evaluation at Balcones Dermatology & Aesthetics without delay.
Board-certified dermatologist David A. Bushore, MD, has years of experience performing skin biopsies to check for skin cancer.During a shave biopsy, he uses a razor blade to only take the minimal amount of skin necessary to make the diagnosis and covers the site with a band-aid.
After removing the skin sample, it will be sent to be read by a dermatopathologist under a microscope. If the lesion is determined to be cancer, Dr. Bushore will discuss your next steps which will depend on the kind of skin cancer you have.
What to expect during your skin biopsy recovery
Soon after your biopsy is complete, you can expect to go home. We provide you with complete after-care instructions to ensure you heal completely and without complications.
Most shave biopsies are so small that it can be easier to just leave the band-aid in place and shower as normal. If the band-aid stays on 3-5 days that is usually sufficient and it can be removed at that point with no further care needed.
It can take several weeks to two months for your wound to heal completely. Because we use precise techniques to remove a skin sample, there is minimal risk for scarring.
To schedule a skin biopsy consultation, call 512-459-4869 or book an appointment online with Balcones Dermatology & Aesthetics today.