As skin cells which produce pigment mutate and grow, the risk for the development of melanoma arises. Melanoma is the result of a tumor very similar in appearance to a mole but can grow quickly and even spread to other parts of the body. There is a high level of risk associated with Melanoma in particular, over other types of skin cancer including basal and squamous cell carcinoma which are not as fatal.
What Happens During Your Examination
A diagnosis is made after your physical exam takes place where the board-certified dermatologist removes and tests a tissue sample. During the biopsy, your skin cancer dermatologist may opt for removal of the suspicious growth by punch biopsy or excisional biopsy.
If you have a positive diagnosis for melanoma, the next determination by your doctor would be the stage level and severity of the cancerous tumor.
Important Factors and Considerations
Your doctor will review the thickness of the tumor to determine whether it can be removed with difficulty or ease. The thicker the tumor, the more severe it is.
Another important check would be to ensure the melanoma has not spread to your lymph nodes. If this is considered a risk or possibility, your doctor my recommend a sentinel node biopsy. During this particular procedure, a special dye is injected where the melanoma was removed. The dye then flows to the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are then tested for cancer cells. If the test is negative, the implication is that the melanoma has not spread beyond its original location.