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Skin Cancer Tests, Diagnosis, Stages and Prognosis

The expert team at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center is here to assist you with skin cancer screenings on an annual basis or as needed. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to get a skin cancer screening at Banner MD Anderson. Schedule a skin cancer screening and find doctor now.

Are There Screening Tests for Skin Cancer?

Yes, there are screening tests for skin cancer. A screening exam is a visual inspection of your skin from head to toe conducted by a doctor. We recommend you get screened annually if you fall under on one or more of the following groups:

  • Inherited risks: Red hair and freckles albinism, more than 50 moles or family history of melanoma or genetic syndromes that cause sensitivity to the sun.
  • Pre-cancerous conditions: Actinic keratosis, unusual moles, also known as dysplastic nevi, history of skin cancer or basal and squamous cell cancer.
  • Environmental exposures: Excessive sun exposure, frequent exposure to tanning beds or one or more blistering sunburns.
  • Previous treatments: Radiation treatment, immunosuppressive treatment or other cancer treatments.

Along with regular exams from your doctor, you can do a self-scan at home to look for signs of skin cancer. Being familiar with your skin will help you notice changes as well as new growths. Simply follow the ABCs of skin cancer:

  • Asymmetry of lesion: Are both sides of the lesion different?
  • Border irregularity: Are the edges notched as opposed to smooth?
  • Color: Is the lesion a mixture of black, blue, red and white?
  • Diameter: Is the diameter greater than six millimeters? (Most melanomas are larger than the head of a pencil.)
  • Evolution: Is the lesion growing in width or height?
  • Feeling: Has the sensation around a mole or spot changed?

Be sure to let your doctor know if you have any sores that don’t heal or see a change in a mole or freckle.

What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Skin Cancer?

Your doctor might use dermascopy or photomapping to learn more any suspicious spots on your skin. Should your doctor find something suspicious during these tests, the next step is to get a biopsy. This includes partial or full removal of the suspicious mole or lesion on the skin to be tested in a lab.

What Is the Prognosis of a Skin Cancer Diagnosis?

When detected early, the cure rate for skin cancer is nearly 100 percent. The multidisciplinary team at Banner MD Anderson works to tailor a comprehensive treatment plan suited specifically for your needs. Learn more about our treatment and support.

Skin Cancer Stages

Staging of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers is rarely needed because these cancers almost never spread to other parts of the body.

The stages of melanoma are determined by the thickness of the tumor and whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Learn more about melanoma 

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