A basal cell carcinoma diagnosis can only be confirmed or ruled out through skin biopsies. In most cases, a patient will turn to a dermatologist or oncologist upon noticing an unusual growth that might be cancerous. From there, the medical professional can remove part or all of the growth using one of the following techniques:
- A shave biopsy, in which the top layers of the lesion are scraped off with a sharp blade.
- A punch biopsy, in which a small, round instrument is placed against the skin and rotated to “punch” a deeper section out of the lesion.
- An excisional biopsy, in which the entire lesion is surgically removed, along with a small amount of the skin that directly surrounds the lesion. The excised area is then closed with stitches.
After a tissue sample has been obtained, it will be sent to a lab for diagnostic testing. A pathologist will examine the cells for signs of cancer and then send a report to the patient’s dermatologist or oncologist.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer some of the most advanced diagnostic techniques currently available for basal cell carcinoma. Not only can we perform skilled biopsies and laboratory assessments, but we can also provide the results within an accelerated time frame. If a basal cell carcinoma diagnosis is made, our expert oncologists can recommend an individualized treatment plan based on a number of unique factors. For instance, we will consider the cellular makeup of the patient’s cancer, the part of the body where it is located and the patient’s overall health.