When it comes to your health, the rule of thumb is to report to your GP any anomalies that you have noticed. The skin, as the largest body organ, is also part of this list. According to Cancer Council Australia, more than 80% of new cancer diagnoses are of the skin. With that said, if you spot any anomalies on your skin, seek a biopsy from your GP in order to determine if its cancer or otherwise.
How to tell that you need a skin biopsy
As mentioned earlier, the answer to this query lies in being wary of any new and unexplained changes that occur on your body. So if you realize that there is a part of your skin that is sore, is rough, has turned colour, is painful, is producing fluid, is bleeding or is behaving in any other unusual manner and you have no clue why, seek a skin biopsy as soon as possible. Do not wait for the situation to deteriorate. It's always best to have a diagnosis done earlier than later.
What to expect during a skin biopsy
A skin biopsy is quite a simple procedure. In fact, the process is so simple that there is no preparation needed on your end. All you have to do is visit your GP and request a biopsy.
The affected area will first be disinfected by cleaning it with a cotton swab. Next, your GP will remove a small part of the affected skin. This can be done by flaking the skin off (if dry) or by cutting off a tiny part using a scalpel. If any cutting is to be done, anaesthesia will be administered to numb you from the pain.
Once the skin sample has been obtained, it will be dressed for observation and inspected under a microscope. The GP will check to see if there are any cancerous cells or any other types of infection. You will then be notified of the full results in few days.
Benefits of the process
Having a skin biopsy is important because, first and foremost, it allows you to understand what exactly is happening to you. Two, it allows the doctor to initiate a treatment procedure as soon as possible before the condition worsens (especially if it's cancer cells, which can spread). Lastly, you get to receive treatment and stop suffering, i.e. pain, irritation, soreness, embarrassment, etc.
Note that just because you have an abnormal skin situation does not mean that it's cancer. It could be an allergic reaction, a fungal infection, warts, an injury, and any of the many possibilities out there. However, you will only know for sure when you've had a biopsy.