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Melanoma & Other Skin Cancers

The Maimonides Cancer Center team offers diagnosis and treatment for all forms of skin cancer, including sentinel node biopsies to detect possible spread of melanoma and state of the art immunotherapy for the treatment early stage and metastatic melanoma.  The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.  Whether you need surgery, radiation therapy or systemic therapy, our expert team offers leading-edge treatment options for skin cancer. 

About skin cancer

The skin is the body's largest organ.  Its job is to protect internal organs against damage, heat and infection.  The skin is also the most exposed organ to sunlight and other forms of harmful ultraviolet rays.  There are three major types of skin cancer.

  • Basal cell carcinoma: The most common form of skin cancer.  These cancers begin in the outer layer of skin (epidermis).

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: The second most common type of skin cancer.  These cancers also begin in the epidermis.

  • Melanoma: The most serious skin cancer, it begins in skin cells called melanocytes that produce skin color (melanin).

Skin cancer can be detected early and it is important to check your own skin on a monthly basis.  You should take note of new marks or moles on your skin and whether or not they have changed in size or appearance.  The American Cancer Society's "ABCD rule" can help distinguish a normal mole from melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: The two halves of a mole do not match.

  • Border irregularity: The edges of the mole are ragged and uneven.

  • Color: Differing shades of tan, brown or black and sometimes patches of red, blue or white.

  • Diameter: The mole is wider than a quarter inch in size.

The American Cancer Society recommends a skin examination by a doctor every three years for people between 20 and 40 years of age and every year for anyone over the age of 40.  Be sure to talk to your doctor about anything unusual on your skin.