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Home  /   Cancer Care  /   Melanoma

Expert care for melanoma and other complex skin cancers

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that is most treatable when you identify it in its early stages. Those with an abnormally shaped mole, lump or growth that they suspect may be skin cancer, can turn to the Holy Name Cancer Care for expert diagnosis and treatment.

Leading multidisciplinary experts, personalized care

Holy Name provides specialized care for patients with all stages of melanoma, from early-stage to advanced metastatic cancer. We also care for patients with non-melanoma skin cancers including complex basal cell and/or squamous cell carcinomas, as well as rare forms of skin cancer including Merkel cell carcinoma.

At Holy Name, our cancer care is tailored to address every aspect of our patients' needs and delivered through an integrated, multidisciplinary approach. Our comprehensive team of cancer specialists meet regularly to discuss patients' diagnostic and treatment information and together determine the best possible treatments, crafting an individualized treatment plan for the best possible outcome and quality of life. When determining a patient's treatment plan, we incorporate extensive experience and evidence-based knowledge about these cancers, their behavior and expected outcomes.

Proven, effective treatment options for better results

Treatment for melanoma depends on the stage of the disease and whether it has spread beyond the original tumor site. Surgery is often the first treatment for many types of melanoma and the primary treatment for people with localized melanoma, with the goal of removing tumors as completely as possible. Many times surgery is the only treatment required.

Holy Name's melanoma surgical care is led by Jonathan H. Lee, MD, a fellowship-trained surgical oncologist with national recognition as an expert and thought leader in melanoma. Because his sole focus is melanoma, Dr. Lee has a very high level of expertise and experience, specializing in precise techniques to help patients achieve the best possible outcomes, while maximizing overall function, cosmetic appearance and quality of life.

At Holy Name, we offer cutting edge surgical options to treat melanoma including sentinel lymph node biopsies, wide excisions with complex reconstructive options including skin grafts or flaps, and lymph node dissections.

Wide Local Excision

Cancers can have microscopic "tentacles" that extend beyond the visible edge. Melanomas tend to have longer "tentacles" than other forms of skin cancers. Removing the cancer and a wide area of surrounding tissue as a single piece (en-bloc resection) provides maximal chance that no cancer remains in the area. We use wide local excision for melanomas as per national evidence-based guidelines. Depending on the site and extent of the surgery, a complex reconstruction might be necessary.

Sentinel lymph node biopsy

Melanomas can often spread to the regional lymph nodes. Sentinel lymph node denotes the first lymph node to which melanoma would spread. With this minimally invasive procedure, we can identify, remove and examine the sentinel lymph node to stage the regional lymph nodes with a high degree of accuracy.

Lymph node dissection

If lymph nodes near the melanoma are found to contain cancer, then you may need more surgery to remove lymph nodes in the area. This surgery is known as a lymph node dissection.

As part of our commitment to comprehensive cancer care, we integrate surgery with other treatments when appropriate. These nonsurgical treatments may include systemic therapy (chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy) or radiation therapy. We regularly bring together a team of experts from surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology and pathology to determine the optimal treatment approach for each of our patients.