Cochise Oncology

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How Long Does it Take to Get Skin Biopsy Results?

Skin cancer starts small and, if caught early enough, can usually be treated with a minor procedure. A professional may perform a skin biopsy to determine whether a suspicious-looking mark needs treatment. When analyzed, this tissue sample will indicate whether further interventions are required. 

What is a Skin Biopsy?

During a skin biopsy, your provider takes a small sample of skin in the area of concern. This sample goes to a lab where experts run a series of tests on it. These tests will determine whether any abnormal cells could indicate cancer or cells that have already developed into cancer. The tests will also let your provider know what type of cancer your treatment plan will address. 

When Do You Need a Skin Biopsy?

Your provider may perform a skin biopsy on any area that looks worrisome. Because a skin biopsy only requires local anesthesia and a small sample, do not hesitate to have a professional check an area that concerns you. Many biopsies happen after a routine screening detects a distinctive mark or one that seems to grow abnormally. 

How Long Does it Take to Get Skin Biopsy Results?

Your biopsy sample will be sent to a lab right away for analysis and testing. How long this testing takes depends on the lab and how quickly they process samples. Most people will get their results back within one to three weeks. While this wait can seem endless if you feel concerned about the results, this thorough testing makes sure your provider can give you all the correct information. 

What Types of Skin Cancer Can a Biopsy Diagnose?

A skin biopsy will diagnose all three types of skin cancer:

Squamous Cell

Squamous cell skin cancers form in layers of skin near the surface. They often look like a red bump or a flat, scaly patch that does not heal.  

Basal Cell

Basal cell skin cancers form in a deeper layer where new skin cells develop. They tend to look like pearly or waxy flesh-colored bumps, but they can take the form of sores that keep recurring. 


Melanomas form in the deeper layers of the skin from melanocytes, pigment-producing cells. They usually have a dark color and may bleed, itch, change colors, or grow quickly. 


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

How is Skin Cancer Treated?

If your skin biopsy shows that you have skin cancer, it may still be localized in that spot. Basal and squamous cell cancers are often slow-growing and take a long time to spread. Melanomas tend to be more aggressive, but early detection often lets your provider remove them altogether. Treatments for skin cancers include:

  • Topical chemotherapy (a medicated cream applied to the skin)
  • Cryosurgery (freezing the area with liquid nitrogen to kill cancer cells)
  • Excision (removing all the cancerous tissue and a margin of healthy skin)
  • Radiation therapy (for certain cancers that require it)


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Do you have questions about skin biopsies? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 335-9460 or fill out the consultation form on this page.

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