Comprehensive Care for Skin Cancer
One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that if skin cancer is caught early and properly treated, it can be cured.
Our skin cancer experts have led research of some of the most advanced treatments used today, including immunotherapy for melanoma. No matter what kind of skin cancer you have, you benefit from a team of specialists with unparalleled expertise in skin cancer diagnosis, surgery and treatment. Our goal is to cure your cancer with attention to your cosmetic appearance, function and quality of life.
How is Skin Cancer Diagnosed
An accurate diagnosis is the first step in your treatment plan.
Your dermatologist will take a sample or remove the entire mole or lesion for testing. Our dermatopathologists -- pathologists who are specially trained in diagnosing diseases of the skin – will test the biopsied tissue and identify any genetic mutations. We use the results to match you with targeted therapies. This precision medicine approach ensures you receive the therapy that is most effective for the biology of your skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Prevention and Screening
More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States – more than all other cancers combined. Exposure to the sun causes more skin cancer than any other factor. Prevention and early detection are the best defense. Here are the ABCs to detect skin cancer.
- Asymmetry: When half of the mole does not match the other half
- Border: When the edges of the mole are ragged or irregular
- Color: When the color of the mole is not the same all over; you may see shades of brown or black, sometimes with areas of pink, red, white or blue
- Diameter: If the mole’s diameter is larger than a pencil eraser
If you see a sign of skin cancer or would like a skin cancer screening, we offer dermatologists who can help.
Treatments for Skin Cancer
Most treatment for skin cancer begins with surgery. Your team will recommend the surgery that is best for your type and size of skin cancer. Our goal is to perform the least invasive surgery that will give you the best possible outcome.
Mohs surgery removes the cancer and as little surrounding tissue as possible. Skin cancer tissue is removed one layer at a time and analyzed under a microscope for cancer cells. Once a layer is found that no longer contains cancer cells, the surgery is complete, sparing you from removal of additional skin.
Skin Cancer Excision
During an excision, the skin cancer is cut out entirely, along with a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue. The tissue is analyzed under a microscope to make sure no cancer cells were left behind. Our team includes plastic and reconstructive surgeons when appearance is a concern.
Chemotherapy works by slowing or stopping the division of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given as a pill, through an IV or injection, or even as an ointment applied directly to the skin. We use the latest anticancer drugs for skin cancer, based on the most recent research findings.
The treatment of skin cancers has changed dramatically in recently years with immunotherapy. Our skin cancer experts have been leaders in the development of every immunotherapy drug in use for melanoma today. You may be eligible for immunotherapy, which harnesses your own immune system to find and destroy cancer cells.
Precision Radiation Therapy
We provide the most advanced radiation therapy using state-of-the-art technology. You receive radiation that is precisely shaped and targeted to your skin cancer area, to spare surrounding, healthy tissue and minimize side effects. Learn about Precision Radiation Therapy.
Types of Skin Cancer We Treat
We treat every type and stage of skin cancer, from the earliest stages to metastatic disease.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
- Most common, slow growing and highly treatable form of skin cancer
- Mainly occurs in areas exposed to the sun
- Appears as a small, shiny bump or nodule on the skin
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- More aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, highly treatable
- May be found on the face, ears, lips and mouth, but can spread to other parts of the body
- May appear as nodules or red, scaly patches of skin
- A small percentage of all skin cancers, but accounts for most deaths from skin cancer
- Starts in cells that produce pigment in the skin
- May begin as an abnormal mole that turns cancerous, and can spread quickly
Merkel Cell Carcinoma
- Rare, fast-growing skin cancer
- A type of neuroendocrine cancer that shares features with nerve and hormone-making cells
- Usually appears as skin, blue or red-colored nodules on the face, head or neck
- Rare group of tumors found deep in the head and neck area
- Begins in soft connective tissue and muscle cells
- Types include dermatofibrosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma
Why Choose Hackensack Meridian Health
Specialized Care for Skin Cancer after Transplant
Hackensack Meridian Health has a renowned organ transplant program. As a result, we see a large number of transplant recipients who need lifelong skin cancer screenings and treatment. Patients who develop squamous cell cancer often have aggressive disease that requires chemotherapy. This experience has advanced our understanding for all squamous cell cancer patients.
The Skin Cancer Specialists You Need
At the center of your care is a dermatologist with expertise in skin cancer, Mohs surgery and complex skin cancer surgeries. Our skin cancer team also includes dermatopathologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, reconstructive surgeons and clinical researchers with promising new treatments.
Leading Immunotherapy Research for Skin Cancer
Patients with advanced skin cancer are living longer due to the development of immunotherapy. The skin cancer experts at John Theurer Cancer Center have led research and clinical trials of every immunotherapy for melanoma available today