Can a botched biopsy spread skin cancer?

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  • Ridi James says:

    Taylor writes “First of all, both doctors say a biopsy cannot spread skin cancer regardless of whether the whole lesion is removed or not. This is one of the myths you can find on some Internet sites.”

    Calling it a “myth” and saying it “cannot spread” is unforgivable when the NIH has determined yes it can, and likely will if specific protocols are not followed. Paul Taylor should either update this post, or delete it.

  • Victoria Howard says:

    I had a biopsy completed two months ago, the scar is changing colors…not only that, the other side of my leg turned purple/black 4 weeks after the procedure. The shape of the scar n the aftermath is freaking me out…I think cancer is on my leg & I wasn’t pleased with the dermatologist that referred me, to begin with as he’s not my regular Dermatologist. The BEST Dermatologist is in Lexington KY. However, I’m currently stranded in Virginia, awaiting for a hip replacement surgery… what can I do? Can you advise me, please….

  • Sylvia says:

    Hi need help. Had biopsy for skin cancer on my ear, came back cancer. They didn’t take enough away so skin in my ear still got cancer. Hold long can they delay to remove the rest of the skin cancer. It’s been 7 weeks after biopsy

  • Valerie says:

    My daughter had a biopsy on a mole in September and it came back benign, however the mole has now grown and changed color. Is it possible it has turned cancerous? It seems to have only grown and gotten worse since the biopsy…

  • Ted Town says:

    In my opinion, If the Dermatologist, after examination sees visually that it is a melanoma, i dont think they should risk the biopsy and just cut it out. Even my own doctor is up in the air about biopsies.

    • Flavia Ionescu says:

      Hello Ted,
      Can you please help me with more infos about the biopsises. In Europe the doctors recomand to do it and I know it is not good!
      Best regards,

  • Linda says:


    I orginally went to the dermatologist for a ingrown skin on stuck on my right hand, middle finger that been there for a couple of years, and after wearing add on nails, I took them off because they looked like they were getting infected. So the Dr. did a shave biopsy on the skin. Well the Pathology report came back: fragment of the nail bed is showing marked cytologic atypia, which I was told it was a server case. I was set up to see another dermatologists for a second opinion, and a Orthopedic as well. The second dermatologists thinks it’s Paronychia and Orthopedic did a Matrix biopsy, I haven’t received my test result back yet. Also, the Pathology reported there were a numerous amount of colonies of cocci on the surface of the nail. No fungal organisms are noted. Please tell help me understand, I am so worried and I’m Googling the same thing over and over, but really no answers. Thank you

  • K says:

    Risk of tumor cell seeding through biopsy and aspiration cytology:

    • Ed says:

      Thank you! That is a useful link! Always research. I found myself that unfortunately sometimes doctors do not have the time to read papers…

  • Sally says:

    Dear Doctors,

    We really need your advice. My friend has a dark spot under toe nail. Doctors said that it looks like a melanoma. We were scared. And started to find information. And after reading the information we were scared more. My question is – can a biopsy spread a melanoma. What should we do? Please, help us in this question.

  • Leslie Lemke says:

    I had a blepheroplast that cut through a dark spot on my eyelid that dermatologist said was an “age spot” Afterward the spot was determined to be melanoma and spread all over my eyelid 4 attempts at removal have been unsuccessful Now they are not sure where it is on eyelid. Could the bleph have caused it to spread?


Paul Taylor


Paul Taylor is a health journalist and former Patient Navigation Advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he provided advice and answered questions from patients and their families. Paul will continue to write occasional columns for Healthy Debate.

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