Skin Cancer

Frequently Asked Questions

17. What happens during a biopsy?

If a mole or pigmented area of the skin looks abnormal, a biopsy might be performed. This minor surgery removes the mole or suspicious skin. A doctor then studies the tissue under a microscope and may perform other tests on the skin sample to help diagnose skin cancer.

If it turns out that the tissue taken off is cancerous, removing it can help prevent the spread (metastasis) of the cancer cells to other parts of the body. A biopsy also confirms the diagnosis of cancer. Once the doctor knows that you have cancer, he or she may order other tests to make sure that the cancer has not spread.