Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in melanocytes, the skin cells that make the pigment responsible for your skin and hair color. While melanoma only accounts for 2 percent of skin cancer cases, it accounts for a majority of skin cancer deaths – meaning it’s a rarer, but deadlier cancer.

At Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute, we have a team made up of nationally recognized leaders in medical, radiologic and surgical oncology who collaborate daily so we can provide care plans tailored to your specific needs. We use the latest technologies, treatments and research to provide you with the highest quality of care.

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For more information about Levine Cancer Institute, call 980-442-2000.

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Melanoma may be first detected during a skin self-exam or during an exam by a medical professional, such as a dermatologist (skin doctor). However, the only way to confirm if a suspicious area is cancerous is by biopsy, in which part or all of the growth is removed and analyzed by a pathologist.

Biopsies may be performed by various techniques:

  • Punch biopsy obtains a sample of skin via a circular blade
  • Shave biopsy removes the first few layers of skin for analysis
  • Excisional biopsy removes the entire growth, along with a small amount of surrounding skin
  • Incisional biopsy takes only the part of the growth that looks the most suspicious

If it appears that melanoma has spread, other techniques, such as fine needle aspiration or image-guided biopsy, may be needed.

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Treatment

There are several approaches to treating melanoma/skin cancer. Our team of experts has the skill and experience to determine the best treatments for the best outcomes.

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Treatment Options Include:

  • Surgery, which is usually reserved for early stages of melanoma and may include techniques such as wide local excision, lymphadenectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • Chemotherapy, which is usually used for advanced stages of disease and includes medications that may stop the growth of cancer cells throughout the body
  • Radiation therapy, which uses high-energy X-rays and other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or halt growth. Radiation may be delivered externally, i.e. delivered by a machine outside the body, or internally delivered by a device, such as a radio-active needle or seed, and placed in or near the tumor
  • Immunotherapy (also called biologic therapy) is treatment that is designed to harness the ability of the body's immune system to combat infection or disease
  • Targeted therapy newer type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to more precisely identify and attack cancer cells, usually while doing little damage to normal cells

Clinical Trials

Levine Cancer Institute offers the latest trials available to its patients, making them among the first to receive the most innovative treatments available in cancer care.

Learn more about our cancer clinical trials.

Cancer Support Programs  

The cancer care process can feel confusing and overwhelming at times – often involving physical, financial and emotional challenges for you and your family. From diagnosis to survivorship, we have numerous resources available to support you during your treatment experience.

Learn more about our cancer support programs.

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