The Northside Hospital Cancer Institute (NHCI) Melanoma Program offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary cancer care, sub-specialized clinical expertise and a personalized approach to cancer care. Our robust clinical research capabilities allow us to offer patient access to National Cancer Institute and pharmaceutical and industry-sponsored clinical trials close to home.
Rooted in compassion, dedicated to quality and excellence, and committed in being a true asset to this region, the NHCI Melanoma Program strives to deliver the highest level of care throughout the entire patient journey, from prevention to treatment and survivorship.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and there are several different types of skin cancer including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and merkel cell carcinoma. Squamous and basal cell carcinomas usually respond to skin cancer treatment and rarely spread to other parts of the body. Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare, aggressive skin cancer that has a high risk of recurring and spreading throughout the body. Melanoma is also one of the more potentially aggressive forms of skin cancer, and prevention and early detection are critical. If not diagnosed early, melanoma can spread to nearby tissues and other parts of the body.
A mole, sore, lump or growth on the skin can be a sign of skin cancer. A lesion or spot that bleeds or changes color may also be a sign of skin cancer. The ABCDE system can be used to remember possible signs and symptoms of melanoma and skin cancer:
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is a major risk factor for most melanomas. There are a number of other risk factors for melanoma and skin cancers, including personal and family history. The risk of developing melanoma increases with age. However, it is also frequently seen in young people.
You are more likely to develop melanoma or skin cancer if you:
Other risk factors include:
There is no guaranteed prevention against melanoma or skin cancer, but there are ways for people to protect their skin and reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.
Over the past five years, the NHCI Melanoma Program has screened close to 2,500 individuals for skin cancer. Regular skin cancer screenings and mole checks are pivotal to detecting melanoma and skin cancer early, when the disease is most treatable.
It is important for everyone to check their skin each month to look for the signs and symptoms of skin cancer. A mirror should be used and it is helpful to have someone help examine hard to see areas. If anything suspicious is noticed, it is important for people to contact their doctor or dermatologist. Download our easy-to-follow guide to help you remember what to look for during your monthly skin cancer self-exams.SKIN CANCER SELF-EXAM GUIDE
In addition to monthly self-exams, you should also have an annual skin screening performed by your physician or dermatologist. Your doctor will check your skin and look at the size, shape, color and texture of any suspicious areas. If your doctor is concerned about the possibility of skin cancer or a melanoma, a biopsy will be performed to remove all or part of the affected area. If the biopsy confirms cancer, a more aggressive operation may be necessary.
Northside Hospital Cancer Institute hosts multiple skin cancer screening events for community members (adults 18 years of age and older) each year. Screenings take place in a private setting and consist of a brief skin assessment by a medical professional. Typically, only skin exposed areas such as arms, hands, neck and feet are examined.
Skin cancer screenings are not intended to take the place of annual comprehensive skin examinations. For a more in-depth examination, please schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.
Northside Hospital’s skin cancer screenings are free, but registration is required. Please call 404-531-4444 to schedule an appointment or for more information, download our 2020 Screening Calendar below or view upcoming skin cancer screenings in the Community Calendar.
The only way to accurately diagnose melanoma or skin cancer is with a biopsy. During a biopsy, all or part of the suspicious mole or growth is removed, and a pathologist analyzes the sample. Biopsy procedures used to diagnose melanoma include a shave biopsy, punch biopsy, an excisional biopsy or an incisional biopsy.
Additional diagnostic tests and services that may be required include:
If you receive a diagnosis of melanoma, the next step is to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer.We offer specialized care for all types of skin cancer including:
The strength of the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s Melanoma Program is our multidisciplinary team of dedicated melanoma and skin cancer specialists and oncology support services team members. Our expert physicians work together every step
of the way to provide individualized care for each patient diagnosed with melanoma or skin cancer. Northside’s Melanoma Program offers a comprehensive scope of medical services, the latest technology, leading-edge clinical research and compassionate
care and support.
Our multidisciplinary team of melanoma and skin cancer specialists consists of:
Weekly multidisciplinary melanoma and skin cancer conferences provide a forum for cancer specialists to review radiology and pathology images, discuss the best melanoma and skin cancer treatment options, including clinical trials, and agree upon an evidence-based treatment plan for each patient. By prospectively discussing melanoma and skin cancer cases during conference, patients get the benefit of not just one clinical perspective but more than a dozen expert opinions.
Northside Hospital Cancer Institute is committed to providing high quality melanoma and skin cancer treatment and making access to this cancer care as convenient as possible.
We treat every type and stage of skin cancer with the latest cancer treatments, including personalized therapies based on the cancer’s specific genetic makeup. Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s skin cancer specialists and oncology support services team members work together to ensure all patients receive high quality, evidence-based care.
NHCI maintains ongoing access to promising National Cancer Institute (NCI) and industry-sponsored clinical trials, which include trials designed to determine the impact of multigene panel molecular tumor profiling in patient management as well as routine genetic mutational analysis for patients with early-stage melanoma.
Expand the content below for more information about melanoma and skin cancer treatments.
Ongoing support is crucial when you are facing cancer. Northside Hospital Cancer Institute provides a full range of support and survivorship programs and services to address the unique needs of melanoma and skin cancer patients.
Melanoma and skin cancer treatment and recovery can be overwhelming, which is why our Melanoma Program offers patient access to oncology nurse navigators to guide them through every step of their cancer journey – from diagnosis and treatment to recovery. Our melanoma nurse navigator is a registered nurse with extensive knowledge and training in oncology. Nurse navigators are available to provide education and support to patients who are diagnosed and/or treated within the Northside Hospital system.
Our oncology nurse navigators facilitate access to Northside’s comprehensive portfolio of cancer patient support services including Nutrition, Behavioral Health and Social Work, Lymphedema Management and Clinical Research, to ensure each patient receives coordinated and personalized cancer care.
The melanoma nurse navigator supports each patient by: