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If a person comes to a physician with symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma, a diagnosis can be obtained through a biopsy. This test can usually be performed during a short office visit, and the results are often provided within a few days.

To perform a biopsy with the intent of confirming or ruling out a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma, a dermatologist or oncologist can:

  • Remove part (or all) of a suspicious growth using a scalpel or sharp blade
  • Remove one or more nearby lymph nodes if the cancer appears to have spread outside of its original boundaries
  • Send the tissues to a pathologist, who can examine the cells under a microscope to check for signs of cancer

The pathologist’s findings will be detailed in a biopsy report and sent to the treating dermatologist or oncologist, who can use the information to determine which treatment options would be most appropriate for the patient’s specific type and stage of cancer.

In some cases, if an entire lesion is removed during a diagnostic biopsy, no further surgery will be necessary. However, if the margins (outer edges of the removed piece of skin) show signs of malignancy (indicating that some cancer might remain in the body), additional procedures may be recommended.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, a multispecialty team of dermatologists, oncologists, dermatopathologists and other medical specialists collaborate on each patient’s diagnosis and treatment. This approach enables us to produce the best possible outcomes and highest-quality of life for our patients.

Referrals are not required to discuss a potential squamous cell carcinoma diagnosis or receive a second opinion at Moffitt. For more information, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.