Top Tests You May Need After a Skin Cancer Screening

Nov 14, 2023
Top Tests You May Need After a Skin Cancer Screening
Regular skin cancer screenings are the best way to detect early signs of cancer — but what happens when your doctor finds something unusual? Learn about advanced dermatopathology tests to pinpoint cancer diagnosis and inform your treatment plan.

Skin cancer is the No. 1 type of cancer in the country. About one in five Americans develops it in their lifetimes, and the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends getting annual professional skin cancer screenings to protect your health.

But what happens if your doctor finds something suspicious during a routine skin cancer screening? You might need additional testing to pinpoint the cause, and our experienced pathology team at Path MD Labs is here to help.

We offer advanced dermatopathology in Los Angeles, California. These specialized tests are designed to diagnose skin cancers and lesions so you can get the most appropriate treatment plan for your needs.

Read on to learn more about four tests you might need after a skin cancer screening detects abnormal results.

1. Tissue consultation

If your doctor identifies a suspicious lesion or growth during your skin cancer screening, the next step is often a tissue consultation or biopsy. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of the suspicious tissue, which our team then examines under a microscope.

We analyze the tissue to confirm the presence of cancer cells, determine the type of skin cancer, and evaluate its stage. This information is crucial in deciding the most appropriate treatment plan, which may include surgery, radiation therapy, or other targeted therapies.

2. Direct immunofluorescence studies

Direct immunofluorescence studies are an advanced diagnostic tool that can be particularly helpful in diagnosing autoimmune skin diseases and blistering disorders. These conditions can sometimes mimic the appearance of skin cancer, so it’s essential to differentiate between them.

Direct immunofluorescence studies involve taking a small skin sample from a blister or affected area and then examining it under a microscope. We use special fluorescent dyes to label specific proteins or antibodies in the skin sample, which helps us identify the presence of any autoimmune disorders and guide treatment recommendations.

3. Comprehensive immunohistochemistry staining

Comprehensive immunohistochemistry staining is a technique we use to identify specific proteins and biomarkers within cancer cells. This test can play a critical role in determining the best treatment approach for skin cancer. 

By analyzing the expression of certain proteins, we can gain insight into the cancer's behavior, aggressiveness, and potential responsiveness to targeted therapies or immunotherapies. Taking a personalized approach to treatment can significantly improve your outcomes, particularly if the cancer is advanced or aggressive.

4. Gene rearrangement studies for B- and T-cell lymphomas

Sometimes, skin cancer may be misdiagnosed. It can share clinical and histopathological features with other skin diseases, including B- and T-cell lymphomas. Gene rearrangement studies differentiate between these conditions by analyzing the genetic makeup of cancer cells.

B- and T-cell lymphomas are types of blood cancers that can manifest in your skin and cause rashes, nodules, or ulcerations. Genetic testing can determine whether the skin condition is caused by lymphoma, which helps inform your treatment plan. Identifying the specific genetic markers or rearrangements in the cancer cells is essential for tailoring therapies like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or stem cell transplantation.

A skin cancer screening is the first step in detecting and preventing skin cancer — but it may not provide a definitive diagnosis or a complete understanding of the disease's characteristics. If you had an abnormal skin cancer screening, additional tests can help provide the answers you need.

Learn more about the dermatopathology services available at Path MD Labs by calling 424-245-7284 or sending us a message online today.