Melanoma cancer treatment and diagnosis

Melanoma cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. but melanoma only accounts for 1% of them. Despite low prevalence, melanoma is the most severe type of skin cancer as it can spread to other parts of the body.

Nearly all early-stage melanomas can be treated with surgery if they are caught before they have a spread, so early diagnosis can mean a positive outcome. If your melanoma is more advanced, you may require more than one type of treatment.

Chapter 1

Diagnostics

Melanoma is usually diagnosed by performing a biopsy. Occasionally a biopsy can remove all the cancer tissue and no treatment is required. If necessary, imaging scans such as ultrasound, CT and MRI may be used for a diagnosis. You may also have other tests to assess how well your treatment is working.

Find your nearest GenesisCare center to find out what diagnostic tests and scans are available in your local area. Whatever your outcome, our expert team will support you throughout your treatment journey.

At GenesisCare, we specialize in the latest technologies and continually evaluate the latest skin cancer treatments so we can offer the most up-to-date options to every patient without delay. We offer treatments that can effectively improve your skin cancer prognosis, manage the disease and help minimize any discomfort and pain. These include surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy. You and your doctor will work together to decide on the most appropriate melanoma treatment plan for you, tailored to your needs.

Shorter treatment times
Chapter 2

Surgery

We work with expert teams of surgeons who are specially trained in the removal of tumors containing cancerous and benign (non-cancerous) cells. There are different procedures used for skin cancer surgery and your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate one for you depending on how advanced your melanoma is.

Wide excision

Excisional surgery involves cutting out the cancerous tissue and a surrounding margin of healthy skin. This procedure is performed under local anesthetic and the sample is looked at under a microscope after to ensure no cancer cells were left behind at the edges of the skin that was removed. Larger margins may be cut for thicker tumors, and margins may be smaller if the melanoma is on the face to minimize visible scarring.

Mohs surgery

Mohs surgery, or Mohs micrographic surgery, is a technique that causes minimal damage to the surrounding healthy tissue and only removes the skin containing the melanoma. The visible tumor is removed and your surgeon will then remove a layer of the skin and analyze it under a microscope to see if it contains cancer cells. This process is continued layer-by-layer until no more cancer cells are found.

Lymph node dissection

For more advanced melanomas, where there is a risk of the cancer spreading to the lymph nodes, your surgeon may recommend removing all lymph nodes that are in close proximity to the cancer. A lymph node dissection is often done after the nearby lymph nodes have been examined and are abnormal (such as large in size or harder), or a biopsy has been performed and cancerous cells have been found in one or more nodes.

Chapter 3

Radiation therapy

At GenesisCare we specialize in advanced radiation therapy techniques that are designed to be effective and minimize the side effects you’ll experience.

Our latest-generation machines are built to deliver highly targeted radiation beams. The accuracy of these treatments, together with the expertise of our teams, means that we can often complete a course of radiation therapy in a shorter amount of time - so you can spend more time doing the things you love.

Radiation therapy for skin cancer

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)

At GenesisCare our melanoma treatments consist of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) techniques, where radiation is delivered from outside the body. These include:

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

IMRT is an advanced external beam radiation therapy technique where the beams of radiation are precisely shaped to exactly match your tumor and damage to adjacent healthy tissues is limited.

Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)

VMAT is an advanced form of IMRT that directs beams of radiation in an arc across the treatment area. VMAT very accurately target areas of cancer and can be used to give a homogenous dose to large treatment areas while sparing deep tissue from toxicity.

Image of the MR-Linac Techonology
Chapter 4

Medical oncology

At GenesisCare, we offer various drug therapies and a wide range of the latest anti-cancer drugs for skin cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

Chemotherapy for melanoma

Chemotherapy refers to drugs that destroy cancer cells. Our expert teams may recommend chemotherapy after other treatments or on its own. Chemotherapy is not usually used as the first treatment for melanoma, but it can shrink the size of the tumors in some cases.

The type of chemotherapy you’ll receive will also depend on how advanced your skin cancer is. If your melanoma has spread to other parts of your body, chemotherapy can help control its growth, relieve symptoms and improve your skin cancer prognosis.

Targeted therapy for melanoma

As researchers know more about melanoma, they have developed new treatments that can specifically target it. We use targeted therapy to seek and attack cellular activity that the cancer depends on to survive and grow. They are used depending on the specific genetic make up of your cancer. Types of targeted therapy for skin cancer include:

  • Cancer growth inhibitors – some melanomas can have an altered proteins called BRAF and MEK which helps them grow. These drugs target the faulty BRAF and MEK proteins to stop the cancer from growing

Immunotherapy for melanoma

Immunotherapy helps your body’s own immune system to recognize and fight the cancer.
Checkpoint inhibitors are an effective immunotherapy against these melanoma and they work by blocking the signals that stop the immune system from attacking the cancerous cells.

Chapter 5

Why choose GenesisCare?

People choose GenesisCare so they can access the latest technologies, effective treatments and personalized care that’s tailored to them without delay.

Cancer treatment and care is constantly evolving and we offer the world’s latest evidence-based treatments that have been shown to benefit patients. By working together closely, our multidisciplinary teams of oncologists, surgeons, radiation therapists and other healthcare specialists provide care that’s focused on you, not just your cancer.

We know that for many people, cancer is a life-changing experience and our goal is to help you through it in the most positive way possible. That’s why as well as offering exceptional cancer treatments, we also provide you with support and resources for your cancer journey - including advice about nutrition and exercise, expert help for managing side effects and information on local support groups.

Our centers are conveniently located throughout the United States, and each location has a dedicated Office Financial Counselor on hand to help you with your paperwork and answer your questions. We accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare Part B, which covers physician services, including radiation therapy.