Skin Cancer Biopsy Overview
If suspicious spots were detected while a skin check was performed, then the doctor will discuss with you the steps to gain a firm diagnosis if the type of lesion is not clinically obvious.
The diagnosis can be done via capturing tissue to send to our pathologist either via needle, shaving or excision. A skin cancer biopsy is done via a needle biopsy which is a safe and minor procedure, where the biopsy takes a small piece of skin from the lesion or lump via a circular blade. The blade is called a punch, hence you might hear the term “punch biopsy”, and can be used interchangeably with skin biopsy. Skin cancer biopsies will ideally be done at the same time as your skin check appointment.
A skin cancer biopsy is a minor procedure that generally takes less than 10 minutes to perform.
Prior to taking the skin biopsy the doctor will apply local anaesthetic to numb the area. The doctor will use the punch to take a sample of the lesion, usually a few millimetres deep and in diameter.
Skin Biopsy Benefits
The benefit of a skin biopsy over a larger excision for early diagnosis of skin cancers, is that there is minimal risk of bleeding and generally the doctor will be able use a simple dressing to close the hole.
Because it’s a relatively minor procedure, you should be able to return to normal activities the next day. As always, be aware of strenuous use of the area that has been biopsied and follow the doctor’s wound care advice.
Skin Cancer Biopsy Results
Once the tissue, or “specimen” is taken, it is then sent to our pathology provider to be analysed under microscopes. The Pathologist will provide a detailed report on the specimen from which the diagnosis is made.
We will contact you to return to the clinic once your pathology results have been reported, which is normally a few business days. The doctor will then discuss in detail the treatment options available based on your individual diagnosis.
For a Skin Biopsy you will require a referral from a GP or specialist.
What to bring
- Valid Medicare, Pensioners, Seniors Health or DVA Card
- A list of current medications or allergies
- A list of any medical conditions