Many patients come in to our office and they are actually surprised that we recommend doing a biopsy on some skin conditions that they have.  It’s not only the dermatologists that do that, but podiatrists do it as well.  A biopsy, though, isn’t only done for cancer.  That’s what most patients think. Well, if you’re going to do a biopsy, you’re concerned that I have cancer of my foot, and that really isn’t the case. The reason we do biopsies on skin conditions and nail conditions is because we want to know the actual organism and actual problem that the person is dealing with.  For example, if a patient comes in and we’re treating an athlete’s foot with different types of creams and it’s never resolving, if it goes on for a number of weeks we may biopsy the area because many times you can actually have an eczema on your foot or some type of a dermatitis that is not healing. Another example would be a wound that we keep treating over and over and over again and it never gets better, and when we do a biopsy it comes back as only being a callus or maybe being some type of a skin cancer.  The last example, if there is a wound that is really not healing and we’re doing everything right and it just keeps staying the same or getting bigger, we can biopsy that area to see if there’s a problem to see if there are any other changes in the skin wound that could be, for example, a cancer as well. 

To Your Health,
Dr. Donald Pelto