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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Diagnosis

Your doctor will examine your skin and may remove a small, abnormal piece to be examined in a laboratory. This procedure is called a biopsy. Occasionally, the doctor will remove the entire abnormal area.

In the laboratory, a pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope to determine if it is a skin cancer. If so, the pathologist will look at the margins (edges) of the specimen. If cancer remains at the margin, you will need another procedure to remove the rest of the cancer.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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