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Ulcerated Lesions

A 50-year-old Australian man noticed a small ulcerated lesion on his neck. He did not experience any pain or itching and applied an antibiotic ointment for a week, but there was no change. Finally, he went to the doctor.

What would the doctor do? What could be the cause for this lesion? How do you differentiate this lesion from malignant melanoma? Is the lesion invasive and would it metastasize if left untreated? What other signs and symptoms would the patient have?

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The first thing that a doctor would do in a case of this nature would be to take a tissue sample of this lesion, and to run a battery of tests on it, including a skin biopsy in order to determine if this lesion is indeed cancerous. In addition, microscopic analysis of this tissue sample would help to determine the cellular structure of this lesion, as well as the biochemical components that make up the structure of this lesion. A doctor may also choose to perform what is called an excisional biopsy, whereby the doctor attempts to remove the whole lesion from the affected area, and conduct tests on this lesion as well as the area immediately surrounding where the lesion was removed, to ascertain if the lesion is spreading, and to what degree it has spread up to the present time. This type of biopsy is usually performed when cancer is ...