If you or your dermatologist spot a suspicious-looking mole or freckle, your doctor may order a biopsy. In this process, a doctor will cut out a small section of it or remove the spot entirely and then send the tissue sample to a lab for testing. The biopsy helps detect the presence of skin cancer, as well as what type of skin cancer you may have.

There is a small risk of scarring with a biopsy. If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, your dermatologist may recommend additional testing, which can help determine the stage and extend of the disease.

Learn how to lower your risk for skin cancer.