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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 diagnose 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.

 

Treating Skin Cancer


The treatment you receive depends on several factors including your overall health, stage of the disease and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. Treatments are often combined and can include:

  • Radiation therapy which uses high-energy particles or waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons, to destroy or damage cancer cells.

  • Surgery where the cancer cells are cut out and removed.

  • Electrodessication where the cancer is dried with an electric current and removed.

  • Cryosurgery where the cancer is frozen and removed.

  • Laser surgery where the cancer cells are killed by laser beams.

  • Chemotherapy where the cancer cells are attacked by a drug that is either taken internally or applied on the skin.

  • Photodynamic therapy where the cancer is covered with a drug that becomes active when exposed to light.

  • Biologic therapy where doctors help your immune system better fight the cancer.

Our Team

Our team works collaboratively to diagnose skin cancers and develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient that may include strategies to preserve the cosmetic appearance of the affected area, state of the art surgical approaches or the latest immunotherapy available.   Our team includes world renowned specialists in skin cancer who have been involved in innovative clinical trials to develop new treatments for melanoma.

Dr. Susan Burdette-Radoux, Medical Oncologist

Dr. Patrick Borgen, Surgical Oncologist

Dr. Jay Cooper, Radiation Oncology