Melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer. It can grow quickly and spread to other areas of the body. At Memorial Cancer Institute, you’ll find the highest level of care. Whether it’s a suspicious mole or late-stage cancer requiring advanced therapies, we can help you.
The initial test is a skin check. A dermatologist examines your skin for signs of suspicious moles. They may use a handheld device (dermatoscope) with a light and magnifier at the tip to carefully assess areas of concern.
If a mole requires additional assessment, the dermatologist takes a skin tissue sample (biopsy). Pathologists evaluate the sample to confirm or rule out melanoma and determine its stage (severity). We also perform genetic testing to learn more about the genetic makeup of the cancer. This information lets us know if you are eligible for targeted therapy and which drug will best meet your needs.
Melanoma Treatments and Support
Surgery to remove melanoma might be the only treatment you need for early-stage disease. The surgeon performs a wide excision to remove the tumor and small area of normal-looking skin around it, called a margin. If we need to remove a large section of tissue, you may also undergo reconstruction during the same procedure.
You may need additional treatments if cancer cells were found at the margin’s edge, if you have a higher risk of recurrence or if you have advanced melanoma. These treatments may include surgery to take a tissue sample from nearby lymph nodes (sentinel lymph node biopsy). We offer nationally recognized radiation oncologyservices. You also benefit from medical oncologists who follow the latest melanoma research and deliver leading therapies.
Supportive Therapies and Services for Melanoma
Melanoma treatment can bring unexpected changes to your appearance and sometimes comes with lingering side effects. We are here for you with cancer support services. Offerings include therapy from psychologists, pain management services and a special boutique and salon.
Melanoma Care: Why Choose Memorial Cancer Institute?
We offer all the tests and treatments you need in one program. Dermatologists, surgeons and other melanoma specialists work together to ensure you have a seamless care experience.
Highlights of our melanoma program include:
- Convenience: For many patients, melanoma treatment starts with an evaluation from a board-certified dermatologist. They are in locations throughout the region, making it easier to start your care journey. View a list of community dermatology providers.
- Expert care for early-stage disease: Dermatologists often remove (biopsy) melanoma on the skin’s surface during an in-office procedure. For early-stage melanoma that has spread past the skin's surface, a surgical procedure (wide excision) may be the only treatment you need.
- Cancer genetics: A small number of people have a family history of melanoma. Our cancer genetics expertise enables you to receive an accurate assessment. When you have a melanoma diagnosis, genetic testing helps us tailor therapies to decrease the likelihood of cancer recurring after treatment.
- Multidisciplinary care: For more advanced cancers, you benefit from our team approach. Dermatologists work with surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and geneticists to coordinate your care. We determine the best melanoma treatments for your diagnosis and tailor them to your needs.