Diagnostic and Treatment Options for Skin Cancer
At the Melanoma Multidisciplinary Clinic at the Lifespan Cancer Institute, evaluation of the diagnostic biopsy by an expert dermatopathologist is essential. Our dermatopathologists evaluate all specimens, even those that were initially biopsied and read at other facilities. We plan the patient’s next step in surgical treatment and care based on the extent of the disease indicated by our dermatopathologists’ reports.
A typical patient has one visit with multiple program experts, then surgery, and then returns to the referring physician for follow-up and monitoring.
While surgery to excise the suspicious area continues to be the first step in treatment, caring for patients with melanoma is much more complex.
Innovative treatment methods
The Melanoma Multidisciplinary Clinic team offers the most innovative diagnostic methods and treatments. These include:
- Sentinel lymph node detection enables us to determine whether or not melanoma has begun to spread while it is still at a very early stage, which is an enormous advantage in developing a course of successful treatment.
- Mole Mapping: The Melanoma Multidisciplinary Clinic is one of a few medical programs to use mole mapping, which employs the use of two digital cameras. One camera uses epiluminescence microscopy to see a deeper layer of skin in order to identify where pigment changes are apparent. The second camera takes images of larger skin surfaces to create mole “maps.” These maps are used to monitor patients as well as to enable patients’ self-examination, resulting in earlier physician involvement when a suspicious area is found.
- Pigmented lesion unit specializes in using photography and dermoscopy to evaluate and monitor patients who have numerous or unusual looking moles because such patients have an increased lifetime risk for developing melanoma. Patients whose blood relatives have had melanoma are also at increased risk, and the pigmented lesion unit monitors those patients to ensure that any suspicious area is immediately evaluated.
Support and Rehabilitation
We are dedicated to helping people live their lives to the fullest, both during and after cancer diagnosis and treatment. We have developed a wide array of services for our cancer patients.