S

kin Cancer / Melanoma

Skin Cancer at a Glance
Melanoma is a cancerous (malignant) tumor that develops in the cells which produce the pigment that colors our skin, hair and eyes. Melanomas are usually black or brown, but can also be pink, red, purple, blue or white.

Non-melanoma skin cancers include basal cell and squamous cell cancers. They rarely spread elsewhere in the body and are treated differently than melanoma.

Diagnosis
Upon examination, a skin sample will probably be examined by a biopsy. Skin biopsies involve removing a sample of skin for examination under the microscope to determine if melanoma is present. The biopsy is performed under local anesthesia. The patient usually just feels a small needle stick and slight burning for about one minute, with a little pressure, but no pain.

Treatment
Our expert physicians provide a range of advanced, multidisciplinary healing therapies using state-of-the-art technology, including:
  • surgery:
    • cryosurgery - freezing the tumor, which kills cancer cells
    • electrodesiccation and curettage - using an electric current to dehydrate the lesion and removing it with a sharp instrument
    • laser therapy - using a narrow beam of light to remove cancer cells
    • Mohs micrographic surgery - removing the cancer and as little normal tissue as possible
    • simple excision - cutting the cancer from the skin along with some of the healthy tissue around it
    • grafting – using a skin graft to replace skin that is damaged when cancer is removed
  • external radiation (external beam therapy) - sending high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells
  • electrochemotherapy – using a combination of chemotherapy and electrical pulses to treat cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • biological therapy (also called biological response modifier (BRM) therapy, immunotherapy, or immunotherapy) - using materials made by your own body, or made in a laboratory, to boost, direct, or restore your body's natural defenses against disease
  • photodynamic therapy (PDT) – a type of laser treatment that involves injecting photosensitizing chemicals into the bloodstream

Contact us at 203-384-3904 or cancerresources@bpthosp.org.