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Melanoma & Cutaneous Cancer

Melanoma & Cutaneous Cancer

Skin (cutaneous) cancer and its most serious version, melanoma, can affect anyone of any age. The most common type of cancer in the United States, skin cancer behaves differently than other cancers and requires specialized treatments.

Team-Based Care for Melanoma & Cutaneous Cancers

When you partner with OU Health in Oklahoma City for melanoma or cutaneous cancer care, you join a team of highly experienced specialists from many healthcare disciplines, including dermatology, medical oncology and surgical oncology, who focus their advanced skills on your particular condition to achieve the best possible results.

Through this multidisciplinary, team-based approach to care, you and your OU Health doctors work together to develop an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan that fits your specific situation. You also benefit from OU Health support that coordinates referrals, appointment scheduling and all aspects of your care from first visit though follow-up and beyond.

Request an Appointment

Contact us directly or ask your doctor for a referral to meet with
melanoma and cutaneous cancer specialists at OU Health.

Call (405) 271-8299

Types of Melanoma & Cutaneous Cancers

You can help detect skin cancer or melanoma early, while it’s small and before it spreads, when you take time for regular self-exams of your skin, as well as check-ups with your doctor. At OU Health, you’ll find expert care for the three main types of cutaneous cancer, including:

  • Basal cell carcinoma – Often starts in deepest part of skin’s upper layer; related to sun-exposed areas, especially face, ears, neck, arms and torso, but can start anywhere; responds well to early detection and treatment; most common type
  • Squamous cell carcinoma – May appear as red, crusty or scaly patch of skin, bump or non-healing sore on arms, hands, head and neck; often grows rapidly and can spread; responds well to early detection and treatment
  • Melanoma – May emerge from an existing mole or skin growth anywhere on the body; often brown or black and uneven in shape and size; more likely to grow quickly and spread (metastasize); most serious type; needs immediate attention

Learn how to prevent skin cancer and the best ways to check for skin cancer.

You’ll also find expert care at OU Health for many types of rare cutaneous cancers, such as Merkel cell carcinoma, and for cancers that may begin in mucosal tissues of the gastrointestinal tract, reproductive organs, head and neck areas such as eyes, esophagus or airway, or in other areas throughout the body.

Expert Skin Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment

Because early detection of skin cancer opens the door to effective treatment, you benefit from a wide range of medical and surgical options at OU Health that often lead to a cure. Our cancer physicians regularly see large numbers of people with many different types of cutaneous cancer, which means you benefit from their expertise and experience in recognizing and treating even the most challenging conditions.

Diagnostic Tests & Staging

During your first visit with an OU Health dermatologist, your basic examination may include a noninvasive tissue biopsy. From this sample, your care team may recommend additional diagnostic tests tailored to your needs, such as PET/CT scan, regular CT scan, brain MRI or other imaging studies for evaluation of lymph nodes and more.

With test results in hand, your doctors collaborate to identify the stage of cancer, determine the best treatment for your specific condition and help you avoid unnecessary, potentially disfiguring, procedures. At OU Health, your treatment options may include surgical oncology, medical oncology and innovations not yet available to the general public that come from ongoing clinical trials.

Surgical Oncology Treatment

If your OU Health team recommends surgery for your particular condition, they can call on our many experienced surgeons who hold additional specialization in cancer care. These surgical oncologists perform various advanced procedures, including minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgery, to remove affected tissues and begin the healing process.

At OU Health, your care team understands the appropriate surgical treatments for specific types of cancer. For example, the innovative Mohs micrographic surgery technique works best for basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, not for melanoma.

Medical Oncology Treatment

Depending on diagnostic results, your OU Health team may determine that your particular condition could respond well to chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormonal therapy or other nonsurgical options. These therapies, known as medical oncology, use a noninvasive approach to target cancer cells.

Medical therapies can cure melanoma and cutaneous cancers, even when the cancer has spread to other organs in the body. When you work with the medical oncologists at OU Health, you benefit from their extensive knowledge of different medical therapies and their side effects, as well as responses shown by melanoma and other skin cancers. Your medical oncologists will recommend a treatment plan that helps you achieve the best possible outcome for your specific situation.

Clinical Trials

Sometimes, the best option for your cancer care may involve a substance, process or procedure that’s under development and available only at an academic health system such as OU Health. When you choose OU Health for your care, you may take advantage of these emerging options from new and ongoing clinical trials conducted in collaboration with OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center, Oklahoma’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Center.

Learn more about clinical trials at OU Health.

Your Melanoma & Cutaneous Care Team

Your experienced OU Health melanoma and cutaneous cancer care team includes board-certified and fellowship-trained dermatologists, surgical oncologists and medical oncologists, as well as specialized nurse practitioners, physician assistants and supportive care staff, all of whom focus their expertise on your particular condition.

When you work with this diverse team of OU Health specialists, you also benefit from innovations in cancer care that result from their ongoing participation in the latest research and clinical trials at OU Health, as well as their extensive activities in teaching the next generation of cancer specialists and surgeons.

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