Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment - A Detailed Guide

Skin cancer diagnosis begins with suspicion and includes certain steps doctors adopt. The diagnosis or screening for skin cancer revolves around checking whether the suspicious lesion or mass under the skin is cancerous.

An early diagnosis is always helpful in treating cancer successfully, and thus, doctors often advise getting regular screening done.

Procedures or Tests for Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Here are some common procedures or skin cancer tests done for a detailed diagnosis.

Visual Examination

A visual or physical examination for skin cancer diagnosis involves evaluating and assessing any kind of lesions or scars on the skin, especially non-healing sores. During the physical examination, the doctor also gathers information about the patient's overall health, medical history, and family history, if any.


Dermatoscopy implies the use of a dermatoscope, which is a device with magnifying and lighting features. The dermatoscopy helps the doctor examine the lesions and differentiate between malignant and benign ones.


A skin biopsy is a skin cancer diagnosis method that is used to determine the presence of cancerous cells, if any. Also, a skin biopsy is useful for knowing the type and stage of skin cancer. There are five main types of skin biopsy:

Imaging Test

In addition to the skin biopsy, doctors may even go for imaging tests to get a clear demarcation of the cancerous skin lesion. These imaging tests help in determining the type and stage of skin cancer.

Molecular Testing

Molecular testing involves assessing and analyzing the molecular and genetic aspects of the cancerous cells to get detailed information about the type, size, and possible effective treatment for the skin cancer.

Microscopic Examination

Microscopic examination involves studying and examining the tissue samples gathered through skin biopsy or excisions for an effective skin cancer diagnosis.

Blood Tests

There are basically no specific skin cancer blood tests available. Reports suggest that advanced melanoma can alter certain blood parameters, and therefore, in such cases, certain blood tests may be recommended to evaluate these parameters.

Lymph Node Evaluation

Lymph node evaluation is an integral step in skin cancer diagnosis, especially melanoma. This examination is used to check whether the cancer has spread from the primary lesion to the lymph nodes or not.

Genetic Testing

In some cases, genetic testing may be recommended for skin cancer diagnosis. Genetic testing is done to look for any kind of mutation or abnormality in skin cells that could indicate skin cancer. Genetic testing plays a significant role in melanoma diagnosis.

What are the Most Effective Skin Cancer Treatments?

There are multiple skin cancer treatments available for the effective management of the disease. However, the adoption and success of each of these treatments depend upon the size, shape, and extent of cancer's spread in the body.

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments involve the use of medications that are applied directly to the skin to treat different types of skin cancer.


Imiquimod, or Aldara, is a topical cream that is used for treating basal cell carcinoma and helps stimulate the body's immune system to recognize and kill cancerous cells.

5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)

5-Fluorouracil, or 5-FU, is a cream that is responsible for interfering with the uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells.


Surgery is often the first line of treatment for localized skin cancers and involves the surgical removal of cancerous cells from the skin.

Radiation Therapy

As the name suggests, radiation therapy uses radiation to target and then destroy cancerous cells present on the skin. This skin cancer treatment is used primarily for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.


Cryotherapy is a skin cancer treatment that uses extreme cold conditions to freeze and then destroy the cancerous skin cells.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic Therapy, or PDT, makes use of a photosensitizing agent and a special light to target the cancerous cells present on the skin.

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments involve the use of medications that are applied directly to the skin to treat different types of skin cancer.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy makes use of drugs to interfere with the genetic or molecular abnormalities that are responsible for cancerous cell growth.


Immunotherapy makes use of the human body's immune system to target and kill cancerous cells on the skin. It is primarily used for treating melanoma by boosting the body's ability to destroy cancer cells.


Chemotherapy is a line of treatment that uses drugs to target and kill cancerous cells. Chemotherapy for skin cancer is highly effective in treating cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Chemotherapy for melanoma has also been found to have good clinical outcomes.

Biological Therapy

Biological therapy works by targeting certain molecules present in cancerous cells to increase the body's ability to fight cancer.

Precision Medicine

Precision medicine implies using tailored medical approaches toward skin cancer treatment while emphasizing the genetic, molecular, and clinical aspects of each patient.

Clinical Trials

Enrolling in skin cancer treatment clinical trials can help patients access the latest skin cancer treatments that are not yet available to the general public. The clinical trials include studies and research on new medications, therapies, drugs, and treatment options that can be helpful in skin cancer treatment. Clinical trials can be helpful for patients who have exhausted their treatment options.

Why Choose HCG for Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment?

When it comes down to making a choice for an effective skin cancer diagnosis and getting the right advice regarding a successful treatment, it is important to choose the right specialist. At HCG, we have a dedicated team to diagnose, treat, and manage skin cancer cases. We use new-age diagnostic and treatment protocols to diagnose and treat skin cancer appropriately. Along with providing the best treatment, we also help patients manage the side effects of the treatment and improve their quality of life in every way possible.


Ensuring an accurate skin cancer diagnosis is imperative for it to be treated properly. The stage at which skin cancer is diagnosed also impacts success rates. Thus, it is always advisable to visit a doctor if there is a prevalent risk factor that can increase the chances of getting cancer or the appearance of any symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is one of the most common skin cancers diagnosed.

Blood tests are not used mainly for detecting skin cancer, but certain blood tests can help in understanding the extent of the disease’s spread, such as lactase dehydrogenase (LDH). Also, the S-100 protein test helps in the staging of melanoma cancer.

The common skin cancer removal methods include excision, cryotherapy, Photodynamic therapy, and Mohs micrographic surgery.

Some common side effects of cryosurgery for skin cancer include blistering, mild pain, scarring, swelling, and redness.

The success of skin cancer treatment usually depends upon factors such as the type of skin cancer, the stage of the cancer, and the size of the cancer. Early-stage skin cancers are found to have better clinical outcomes than advanced-stage skin cancers. Therefore, it is important not to ignore any skin cancer symptoms and to promptly see a doctor.

Yes, skin cancers can come back; they could recur in the same location or in distant regions. However, treating recurrent skin cancers successfully is possible. Skin cancer patients should keep up their follow-up appointments without fail, as these can help in detecting recurring skin cancers in their early stages when doctors can treat them in the best way possible.

Though there is no permanent or specific cure for skin cancer, there are some treatments that can help reduce the spread of cancer.

Yes, there are some effective melanoma medications, which include pembrolizumab (Keytruda), dacarbazine (DTIC), dabrafenib (Tafinlar), and vinorelbine (Navelbine). It is important to see a doctor to understand which medication is right for you

Yes, the treatments for both stages differ as the tumor's size, the extent of spread, and the patient's overall health differ.