Melanoma is treated within GWCC’s Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, develops in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin — the pigment that gives your skin its color. Melanoma can also form in your eyes and, rarely, in internal organs, such as your intestines.
Melanoma is treated within the GW Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program
- Comprehensive General Dermatology and Cutaneous Oncology Services
The GW Cancer Center’s Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program takes a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of melanoma. Our team includes specialists in dermatology, plastic surgery, medical oncology, genetic counseling, and dermapathology. We also offer specialty care like a weekly melanoma and pigmented lesion clinic and a supportive oncodermatology clinic for patients with dermatologic needs resulting from cancer and cancer treatments.
Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program Information
The GW Cancer Center accepts referrals for patients with all types of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer, as well as patients with suspected skin cancers who are in need of diagnostic testing or surveillance. Our personalized and multidisciplinary approach means that patients have access to a variety of physicians during their clinic visit:
- Dermato-oncologists evaluate and monitor suspicious lesions
- Genetic counselors help patients understand and manage their risk for cancer
- Medical oncologists manage and treat early stage or more advanced skin cancers
- Surgical oncologists evaluate and remove suspicious lesions
- Dermatopathologists assess tissue slides of possible cancerous lesions
Patients suffering from dermatologic side effects related to cancer and cancer treatments can also receive care from our Supportive Oncodermatology Clinic, the only one of its kind in the Washington, D.C. area. We also offer specialty care through the Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma Clinic, where patients can conveniently receive expert care from both skin doctors and blood cancer doctors in one visit.
- The Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Program provides complete care for each patient. A team of physicians and supportive care staff from different specialities come together to discuss each new case. They create a treatment plan that will best serve the patient.
- We also offer the services of a patient navigator who can help with care coordination, communication, and many other patient needs or barriers to care.
- Patients in clinical trials benefit from the latest developments in the field. Our patients have access to state-of-the-art clinical trials and newer medical therapies
Advanced Diagnosis and Treatment
- The GW Cancer Center offers screening and treatment for all forms of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer, including cutaneous T-cell lymphoma or Mekel cell cancer, carcinoma (Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma), and other epidermal malignancies.
- We provide biopsies and on-site processing of results, as well as diagnostic imaging services like lymphoscintigraphy (sentinel lymph node mapping).
- Patients at GW have access to all the latest treatments including radation therapy; systemic therapies like immunotherapy and targeted therapies; surgical removal of tumors; and minimally invasive groin dissection for metastatic melanomas.
- Our dedicated staff also offer supportive care and resources throughout your time at GW.
Leading Edge Technology
The GW Cancer Center provides patients with access to the latest technology in melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers, including:
- Mohs surgery
- Robotic-assisted lymphadenectomy
- Minimally invasive groin dissection for metastatic melanomas
- Systematic therapies including immunotherapy and targeted therapies (drugs that work at the molecular level to stop cancer)
- Limb and liver perfusions, which allow us to deliver anticancer drugs directly to an affected area
- Reconstructive plastic surgery
Supportive Oncodermatology Clinic
- The Supportive Oncodermatology Clinic supports patients during and after their cancer treatment to prevent and reduce common side effects, such as hair loss, severe skin rashes, skin infections, brittle nails, and dry skin, of treatment.
- It is the only one of its kind in the Washington, D.C. region, and one of only a handful of such clinics in the country.
Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic
- Patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma may need expert care from both skin doctors and blood cancer doctors. Through our specialty clinic, patients can conveniently see both specialists in one visit.
- Patients at the Cutaneous Lymphoma Clinic will receive a thorough evaluation, which may include a skin biopsy.
- Our specialists work together to determine the right treatment approach for each patient. Patients with advanced disease may have their case presented at a tumor board where several specialists discuss the patient's case and come up with the best treatment plan.
Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Clinic
- The GW Cancer Center hosts a weekly melanoma and pigmented lesion clinic to provide ongoing surveillance for patients with a personal history of melanoma.
- In addition, we also see patients at elevated risk of melanoma, including those with a personal history of dysplastic nevi (atypical moles) or a family history of melanoma.