Due to renovations at our Patroon Creek office, the regular entrance in the lower lot is CLOSED. Patients (including those from our Troy and Albany Medical Center locations) must use the upper lot entrance for Suite 210 and 211. However, Radiation, PET and CT imaging patients can use our separate Radiation Entrance in the lower lot. Learn More

Disease & Drug Info

Diagnosing of Skin Cancer

In most cases, skin cancer is identified first by a doctor as an abnormal area on the skin. However, they won’t know whether it is cancerous until it’s removed and tested. This is a biopsy – and the only sure way to diagnose skin cancer.

You may have the skin cancer biopsy in a dermatologist’s office or as an outpatient in a clinic or hospital. Where it is done depends on the size and place of the abnormal area on your skin. You probably will have local anesthesia.

There are four common types of skin biopsies:

  • Punch Biopsy: The doctor uses a sharp, hollow tool to remove a circle of tissue from the abnormal area.
  • Incisional Biopsy: The doctor uses a scalpel to remove part of the growth.
  • Excisional Biopsy: The doctor uses a scalpel to remove the entire growth and some tissue around it.
  • Shave Biopsy: The doctor uses a thin, sharp blade to shave off the abnormal growth.