Skin Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment

Skin Cancer Diagnosis & Testing

Whether you’re concerned about your skin cancer risk or a new red bump on your nose, Mercy is here to help. Our team of health care professionals has experience screening, diagnosing and treating all forms of skin cancer. We’ve helped a countless number of patients overcome their skin cancer diagnoses and be able to safely enjoy the sun outdoors again.

Imaging & Diagnostic Testing

Your Mercy doctor might not be able to tell if you have skin cancer based on a simple examination of your skin. In many instances, a skin biopsy may be needed to determine whether you have skin cancer or not. If your doctor discovers you do have skin cancer, more tests might be needed in order to properly diagnose your stage. These may include a variety of biopsies, dermatoscopy and imaging tests.

Biopsy

A biopsy is the removal of suspicious-looking skin for further testing in a lab. The different types of biopsies include skin biopsy, shave (tangential) biopsy, punch biopsy, incisional or excisional biopsy, fine-needle aspiration (FHA) lymph node biopsy and lymph node biopsy.

Dermatoscopy

Also known as a dermoscopy, a dermatoscopy is a medical examination of abnormal skin lesions with a dermatoscope, a tool that allows doctors to better see superficial skin and deeper skin structures.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests may be done to determine if the skin cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Diagnostic imaging tests are generally more common with thicker melanoma and unusual skin cancer categories. Imaging tests can include:

Skin Cancer Treatment at Mercy

If you have skin cancer, your treatment strategy will depend on several factors. These include the type of skin cancer you have and whether it has spread to other areas of your body. Your Mercy doctor may recommend one or more types of skin cancer treatment.

Medication

More aggressive forms of skin cancer may require more extensive treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

Topical Treatments

When skin cancer is found but isn’t as aggressive, topical treatments may be used to treat early-stage cancers. These treatments can include photodynamic therapy and topical chemotherapy.

Radiation Therapy 

Following skin cancer surgery, radiation therapy may be used to remove any cancer cells that may remain. Your doctor may also use it to alleviate your symptoms if your cancer returns in the future. Types of radiation therapy include:

Cryotherapy

Liquid nitrogen is used in cryotherapy to destroy skin cancer cells. This may be a good option for benign lesions and non-melanoma skin cancers.

Surgery

Surgery is very common when it comes to treating various skin cancers, and there are many different options to choose from. Techniques can vary depending on the type of skin cancer, how big cancer itself is and where it’s located on the body. Surgical oncology techniques include:

  • Excision surgery
  • Mohs micrographic surgery
  • Skin grafting
  • Reconstructive surgery

Mercy will do more than treat your skin cancer. We’ll also take care of you. Once you complete your treatment, we’ll give you all the tools you need to maintain a lifetime of positive skin health and reduce the chances of your skin cancer returning.

Skin Cancer Resources