West Cancer Center is positioned as the region’s comprehensive leader in adult cancer care and research. Our team at West Cancer Center offers unparalleled Skin Cancer treatment for patients across the Mid-South– collaborating with West’s leaders in medical oncology, radiation therapy, and research to provide your patients with the most individualized care possible.

Melanoma and Non-Melanoma?

Melanoma is the serious form of skin cancer that develops in the cells that produce melanin (the pigment that gives the skin color) Knowing the warning signs and seeking treatment early can provide successful results and help prevent spread to other parts of the body.

Symptoms of Melanoma

  • An unusual growth or pigmentation change on your skin
  • A change in an existing mole:
    • A-asymmetric shape
    • B-border with irregular or scalloped edge
    • C-color change
    • D-diameter growth of more than ¼”
    • E-evolving changes in size, color, shape and symptoms
  • Hidden symptoms:
    • Vision changes – Ocular Melanoma
    • Mucous membrane changes – Mucosal Melanoma
    • Fingernail or toenail changes – Acral-Lentiginous Melanoma

Symptoms of Non-Melanoma

  • A crusty sole that bleeds easily
  • A growth or area that is itchy
  • Raised and scaly red patches
  • A wart like growth
  • A sore that doesn’t heal or keeps coming back
  • Pale yellow or white flat areas that resemble a scar
  • A pinkish growth that indents in the center with raised edges
  • A growth with small blood vessels on the surface

Types of Non Melanoma Cancers

ANGIOSARCOMA

These are rare forms of cancer that can occur anywhere on the body, but are usually on the skin of the head and neck, and form in the lining of the lymph or blood vessels.

BASAL CELL CARCINOMA

Long-term exposure to sunlight is considered to be the cause of most basal cell carcinomas that begin in the basal cells, a type of skin cell that replaces old ones that have died off with new ones.

CUTANEOUS B-CELL LYMPHOMA

This rare form of skin cancer begins in the B-cells, a type of white blood cell whose role is to fight disease.

CUTANEOUS T-CELL LYMPHOMA

These rare forms of cancer are a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that begins in the white blood cells and attack the skin.

DERMATOFIBROSARCOMA PROTUBERANS (DFSP)

This rare, slow growing skin cancer begins in connective tissue cells in the middle layer of the skin and rarely spreads beyond the skin.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

These bluish-red or flesh colored cancers are another rare form that usually develop in older people with a weak immune system and/or long term exposure to sunlight. They are usually on the face, head, and neck and can grow fast and spread to other parts of the body.

SEBACEOUS CARCINOMA

The eyelid is usually the area these cancers appear and begin in the oil glands but can spread to other parts of the body and may be difficult to treat, even after surgical removal.

SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA OF THE SKIN

While usually not life-threatening, this is the most common form of skin cancer that results from long-term exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds. These cancers form on the squamous cells located in the outer or middle layer of skin and if untreated can spread and cause serious complications.

How to Diagnose Skin Cancer

  • Excisional Biopsy: Removal and analysis of the entire mole or growth with a border of healthy looking skin
  • Incisional Biopsy: Removal and analysis of the most irregular part of the mole or growth.
  • Punch Biopsy: A circular tool is used to remove a round piece of skin around the mole or growth.
  • Skin Cancer Screenings: Periodic skin exams by a physician, plus self-exams can help detect melanoma early.
  • Shave Biopsy: Usually used for small lesions in a cosmetically sensitive area with a razor blade

Types of Skin Cancer Treatments

CHEMOTHERAPY

Uses powerful drugs specifically designed to destroy the skin cancer cells that are dividing rapidly. These drugs may be given before or during radiation to improve outcome and care.

CLINICAL TRIALS

You patient may be a candidate for a clinical trial.

IMMUNOTHERAPY

This therapy is designed to help immune cells better identify and attack cancer cells with a boosted immune system. Several types of immunotherapies are used for melanoma:
checkpoint inhibitors-that work to target signaling proteins that allow cancer cells to hide from the immune system

CYTOKINES

Designed to stimulate the activity and growth of immune cells.

ONCOLYTIC VIRUS THERAPY

Using versions of harmful viruses to trick the immune system to attach cancer cells.

LYMPHATIC MAPPING

A radioactive fluid is injected near the site of the cancer and scanned to create a map of the lymphatic system to identify the sentinel node as a guide for a sentinel node biopsy.

MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES

These laboratory-produced drugs are designed to work with the body’s immune system to fight the cancer-melanoma by acting as substitute antibodies to enhance, restore or mimic the immune system.

RADIATION THERAPY

High energy x-rays are used to destroy the skin cancer cells. The type of treatment, dose and frequency are determined by a radiation oncologist

SENTINEL NODE BIOPSY

This procedure removes the sentinel nodes, the first place the cancer is likely to spread.

SURGERY

One of our surgical oncologists will surgically remove the melanoma with varying degrees of margin depending on the stage.

TARGETED THERAPY DRUGS

The goal of these drugs is to shut down the mutated molecules to reduce the growth and spread of melanoma cells without harming the healthy cells.

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