Cutaneous Oncology Program

Patients with melanoma, and other, less common skin cancers such as cutaneous T-cell lymphoma or Merkel cell cancer, are seen in this clinic. The clinic is based on a “comprehensive, one stop care” model. During a clinic visit, patients have the opportunity to be evaluated by any or all of the following physicians:

  • A dermato-oncologist evaluates and monitors suspicious lesions
  • Medical oncologists manage and treat more advanced skin cancers
  • A surgical oncologist evaluates and excises suspicious lesions
  • Dermatopathologists assess tissue slides of possible cancerous lesions
  • Dermatology nurse specialists provide continuity of care for patients
  • A Mohs surgeon and on-site surgical suite and laboratory for out-patient lesion removal
  • A health educator provides information about ways to reduce melanoma risk
  • An Arizona Cancer Center social worker provides more in-depth psychosocial care

The COP also serves as a referral center for the management of non-melanoma skin cancer, including, squamous cell carcinomas in immuno-competent and immuno-suppressed patients, undifferentiated cutaneous carcinomas, Merkel cell carcinoma, and other epidermal and appendigeal malignancies. A unique aspect of the COP is the experience in management of patients with cutaneous lymphomas, including CD30 lymphoproliferative diseases.

Continuing in the pioneering footsteps of Dr. Evan Hersh, management of malignant melanoma in all stages remains one of the COP’s areas of greatest expertise. For patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease, the widest variety of conventional and experimental treatments is available. We have extensive experience with biologic therapy, biochemotherapy and vaccines in the treatment of melanoma. The multidisciplinary strengths of our program are exploited to maximize treatment options and, most importantly, likelihood of response.

As part of a COP visit, patients and their family members have an opportunity to receive the following types of skin cancer detection and prevention education from a health educator:

  • Information about the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure and how to reduce these effects
  • Information on sun protection, including sunscreen and protective clothing
  • How to do a skin self-examination