Many patients come to us after skin cancer treatment with another healthcare provider. Often a dermatologist or family care doctor will decide that the skin cancer needs treatment from a head and neck specialist.

For those who need a diagnosis, we can often diagnose skin cancer during your first office visit. If your healthcare provider believes you may have skin cancer of the head and neck, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure. You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.

The provider will also give you a physical exam. You may have one or more of the following tests.

We may look at the growth or mole to see if we need to do further testing.

We’ll remove all or part of the growth so our pathologists can study it under a microscope. This will tell us if you have cancer and what type of cancer it is. Many aggressive head and neck skin cancers require a surgical biopsy so we can determine how far the cancer has spread.

A skin cancer biopsy is done with local anesthesia by a physician. Local anesthesia uses medicine to numb the area where a needle will be inserted.

A biopsy may be performed with imaging guidance. Ask your provider about your specific type of biopsy to learn more.

Patients will be contacted after a biopsy by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.

When you are diagnosed with skin cancer of the head and neck, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases, there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.

Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent skin cancer of the head and neck, with a focus on individualized patient care.

Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers. As the one and only NCI-designated cancer program in Kentucky, Markey is able to serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including skin cancers of the head and neck cancer.

Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.

Should I get a second opinion?

A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating prostate cancer. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:

  • You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
  • A dedicated team specialized in your cancer type may not be available in your area.
  • There may be uncertainty around the stage of prostate cancer.
  • You may want to learn more about different treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
  • Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.

Questions to ask when getting a second opinion

After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:

  • Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
  • Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
  • Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
  • What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
  • What are the side effects of treatment?
  • How long are treatment recovery periods?

For more information, visit these trusted national sources for a variety of additional educational tools and resources:

Markey Cancer Center is NCI-designated

The UK Markey Cancer Center was first designated by the National Cancer Institute in 2013 – a distinction that recognizes our extraordinary ability to provide world-class care for our patients. We are the only NCI-designated cancer center in Kentucky and one of only 71 in the nation.

LEARN MORE