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Dermatologists have a few tools in their medical bag when it comes to solving the mystery of  lesions on the body.  Sometimes there is confusion as to why one type of biopsy is used over another.  (In fact, today's post was inspired by to a curious patient!)   So, what's the deal with biopsies? There are two ways to biopsy lesions to ensure that they are not melanoma- excisional biopsy and incisional biopsy. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), British Association of Dermatologist, and many other professional groups have stated that the...

Q: Read study done in Germany that links fathers to sons gene related to melanoma genesis in families. Any more research done on it yet? Reader from Vancouver, WA A: Many studies have shown a genetic link, and some of the responsible genes are known (and can be tested for), but these mutations are only responsible for a small number of melanomas. In 90% of melanomas, the genetic changes leading to cancer are somatic mutations, meaning that they were not inherited and developed from scratch in the affected person. Here is where it gets interesting: Exposure to ultraviolet light will generate many of these mutations. ...

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