Skin cancer affects thousands of people each year in the U.S. Dr. Patel in Marina del Rey, CA can perform a general skin exam with dermoscopy to screen for any suspicious moles, precancerous lesions, and skin cancers. In addition to screenings and cancer removal, she also helps patients develop sun-healthy behaviors to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.
The first step in identifying skin cancer is a skin cancer screening, an all-over exam of your skin to look for lesions, discolorations, unusual moles, or other signs indicating you may have skin cancer or a precancerous growth that should be removed and evaluated. When an unusual lesion or growth is identified, the next step is to take a biopsy – a tiny section of tissue that will be examined under a microscope to look for cancer cells. Some biopsies may use a special cutting instrument to remove a small sample of tissue and others may use a tool called a biopsy punch to remove a cylindrical sample of tissue for evaluation. The approach used will depend on the appearance of the lesion and the sample size and shape needed for proper evaluation. In addition to screenings and cancer removal, she also helps patients develop sun-healthy behaviors to reduce their risks of developing cancer.
If the biopsy results are positive, Dr. Patel will schedule an appointment for you to have the lesion removed. Most procedures can be performed right in her office, using the most advanced, state-of-the-art equipment available today and a local anesthetic. Once the lesion is removed, the edges, or margins, are examined under a microscope to ensure the entire area of cancer cells has been removed. You will need to come back for a follow-up appointment to ensure the area is healing, and you will also need to schedule skin cancer screenings in the future to check for additional cancers.
That depends on your risk factors, skin type, previous history of cancers, and other factors. Dr. Patel will be able to recommend the best schedule for your individual needs.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!