Clover Internal Medicine Associates
Board Certified Internal Medicine located in Fort Worth, TX
Skin biopsies are commonly done for suspicious lesions that could be linked to cancer. They can also be done for confirmatory diagnosis for disorders like psoriasis, eczema, warts, or other inflammatory conditions. About 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers are caused by UV radiation exposure from sunlight, like squamous cell or basal cell carcinoma. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2020 there were 324,635 people diagnosed with melanoma worldwide. It is the 5th most common cancer in men and women.
Type of biopsies:
Shave: Using this technique a provider removes the top layers called epidermis and dermis of the suspicious skin or lesion
Punch: Using this technique a provider can remove a deeper portion of the skin, if needed, using this method which includes the superficial fat layer
Excisional: Using this technique a provider removes an entire area of abnormal skin including some normal skin called the safety margin; these are usually referred out due to their severity.
What are some risk factors?
- Men- they are two times for likely to develop skin cancer than women are.
- Fair skin- are at an increased risk due to their probability for a sun burn. However, skin cancer is still possible in dark skinned individuals.
- 50 years or over- the longer you skin is exposed to sunlight the more at risk you are as you age
- Weak immune system- conditions like HIV, cancer, autoimmune diseases like lupus, or transplant patients are at an increased risk due the condition itself of the medication they are required to take
What preventative measures can we take?
Using sunscreen, avoiding tanning beds, avoiding outdoor sunbathing, regularly checking your skin, and noting any new or abnormal skin lesions. Contact your doctor if you have any suspicious lesions.
Use this acronym to monitor lesions:
B border irregularity
C color variation within the lesion, it can have multiple shades
D diameter can be as big as 6 mm but smaller lesions are possible if diagnosed sooner
E evolving skin lesions from size, shape, or color
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