Melanoma

Melanoma affects melanocytes, the cells that make pigment that gives the skin its color. It’s not as common as other forms of skin cancer, but is much more likely to spread. In fact, its rate of spread to lymph nodes is up to 40 percent. About 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.

Melanoma is the leading cause of death from skin disease - and each year, it becomes more common. In the United States, more than 85,000 new cases are expected in 2017. Of these, an estimated 10,000 will die of melanoma within the year. In Pennsylvania, the incidence rates are slightly higher. About 4,300 new cases are expected for 2017 across the state. 

Treatment

The standard treatments for melanoma are:

  • Surgery 
  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiation therapy 
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

The Multidisciplinary Skin Oncology Clinic at the Penn State Cancer Institute specializes in treating melanoma and all other skin cancers - even very rare ones.

Our specialists diagnose and stage melanoma, and are experts in its treatment and recovery. Here, you’ll have access to all the latest therapies, as well as clinical trials testing new treatment methods. Team members meet regularly, along with radiologists and pathologists, to discuss cases as a group. These members and scientists also meet to discuss clinical trials and novel ideas for new studies.

Care Team

You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.

Bryan Anderson, MD Bryan Anderson, MD Dermatologist View Researcher Profile
Elizabeth Billingsley, MD Elizabeth Billingsley, MD Dermatologist View Researcher Profile
Joseph Drabick, MD Joseph Drabick, MD Hematologist/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Diane Hershock, MD, PhD Diane Hershock, MD, PhD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Heath Mackley, MD Heath Mackley, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
James Marks, MD James Marks, MD Dermatologist View Researcher Profile
Rogerio Neves, MD, PhD Rogerio Neves, MD, PhD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Colette R. Pameijer, MD Colette R. Pameijer, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Marc Rovito, MD Marc Rovito, MD Hematologist/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Christie Travelute, MD Christie Travelute, MD Dermatologist View Researcher Profile
Henry Wagner Jr., MD Henry Wagner Jr., MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Amanda Cooper, MD Amanda Cooper, MD View Researcher Profile
Kevin L. Rakszawski, MD Kevin L. Rakszawski, MD View Researcher Profile

Locations

Penn State Cancer Institute

Penn State Cancer Institute

400 University Dr
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-6585

Clinical Trials

A Phase Ib/11 Study of Propranolol with fixed-dose Pembrolizumab in Patients with Unresectable Stage III and Stage IV Melanoma

Groups, Classes and Support

Melanoma Support Group has been created to provide support to Stage 3 and 4 melanoma patients and their caregivers by sharing our experiences and practical information while providing encouragement, hope, networking, and educational opportunities. Structured meetings will include introductions, sharing experiences and feelings, exchanging information, and building a sense of belonging. Speakers and experts on topics of interest identified by the group members will be scheduled. We will support melanoma research through advocacy and related activities.

For more information, please contact Carol Mallon, MS, RN, AOCNS at 717-531-5784 or Mary Ellen Loser, BSN, RN, CPSN at 717-531-1657.

Prevention and Screening

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to always use sunscreen and to limit the time you spend in the sun.

  • Use sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, even when you are going outdoors for a short time.
  • Apply a large amount of sunscreen on all exposed areas, including ears and feet.
  • Look for sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB light.
  • Use a water-resistant sunscreen.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out. Follow package instructions about how often to reapply. Be sure to reapply after swimming or sweating.
  • Use sunscreen in winter and on cloudy days, too.  

Use other measures to protect your skin from the sun:

  • Ultraviolet light is most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to avoid the sun during these hours. 
  • Wear wide-brim hats, long-sleeve shirts, long skirts or pants.
  • Keep in mind that some surfaces reflect light, such as water, snow, sand, concrete and areas that are painted white.
  • Remember that the higher the altitude, the faster your skin burns.
  • Do not use sunlamps and tanning beds. Spending 15 to 20 minutes at a tanning bed does as much harm as a day spent in the sun.

Check your skin once a month. Have your doctor check it once a year if you are older than 40 and every three years if you are 20 to 40 years old.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.

Symptoms

It can be hard to tell if a mole or colored area of the skin is skin cancer. See your doctor if you have a mole or spot that:

  • Changes in size, shape or color
  • Has jagged edges or borders
  • Is more than one color
  • Is bigger on one side than the other
  • Oozes, bleeds or forms an ulcer

Diagnosis

If your doctor thinks you might have a melanoma or other skin cancer, he or she will remove all or some of the spot for biopsy. A pathologist will look at the skin sample under a microscope to check for cancer cells. If you have skin cancer, you may need more tests to see whether it has spread.

Melanoma

Melanoma affects melanocytes, the cells that make pigment that gives the skin its color. It’s not as common as other forms of skin cancer, but is much more likely to spread. In fact, its rate of spread to lymph nodes is up to 40 percent. About 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.

Melanoma is the leading cause of death from skin disease - and each year, it becomes more common. In the United States, more than 85,000 new cases are expected in 2017. Of these, an estimated 10,000 will die of melanoma within the year. In Pennsylvania, the incidence rates are slightly higher. About 4,300 new cases are expected for 2017 across the state. 

The standard treatments for melanoma are:

  • Surgery 
  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiation therapy 
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

The Multidisciplinary Skin Oncology Clinic at the Penn State Cancer Institute specializes in treating melanoma and all other skin cancers - even very rare ones.

Our specialists diagnose and stage melanoma, and are experts in its treatment and recovery. Here, you’ll have access to all the latest therapies, as well as clinical trials testing new treatment methods. Team members meet regularly, along with radiologists and pathologists, to discuss cases as a group. These members and scientists also meet to discuss clinical trials and novel ideas for new studies.

You may see one or more of the following specialists for your cancer treatment.

Bryan Anderson, MD Bryan Anderson, MD Dermatologist View Researcher Profile
Elizabeth Billingsley, MD Elizabeth Billingsley, MD Dermatologist View Researcher Profile
Joseph Drabick, MD Joseph Drabick, MD Hematologist/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Diane Hershock, MD, PhD Diane Hershock, MD, PhD Medical Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Heath Mackley, MD Heath Mackley, MD Radiation Oncologist View Researcher Profile
James Marks, MD James Marks, MD Dermatologist View Researcher Profile
Rogerio Neves, MD, PhD Rogerio Neves, MD, PhD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Colette R. Pameijer, MD Colette R. Pameijer, MD Surgeon View Researcher Profile
Marc Rovito, MD Marc Rovito, MD Hematologist/Oncologist View Researcher Profile
Christie Travelute, MD Christie Travelute, MD Dermatologist View Researcher Profile
Henry Wagner Jr., MD Henry Wagner Jr., MD Radiologist View Researcher Profile
Amanda Cooper, MD Amanda Cooper, MD View Researcher Profile
Kevin L. Rakszawski, MD Kevin L. Rakszawski, MD View Researcher Profile
Penn State Cancer Institute

Penn State Cancer Institute

400 University Dr
Hershey, PA 17033

Phone: 717-531-6585
A Phase Ib/11 Study of Propranolol with fixed-dose Pembrolizumab in Patients with Unresectable Stage III and Stage IV Melanoma

Melanoma Support Group has been created to provide support to Stage 3 and 4 melanoma patients and their caregivers by sharing our experiences and practical information while providing encouragement, hope, networking, and educational opportunities. Structured meetings will include introductions, sharing experiences and feelings, exchanging information, and building a sense of belonging. Speakers and experts on topics of interest identified by the group members will be scheduled. We will support melanoma research through advocacy and related activities.

For more information, please contact Carol Mallon, MS, RN, AOCNS at 717-531-5784 or Mary Ellen Loser, BSN, RN, CPSN at 717-531-1657.

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to always use sunscreen and to limit the time you spend in the sun.

  • Use sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, even when you are going outdoors for a short time.
  • Apply a large amount of sunscreen on all exposed areas, including ears and feet.
  • Look for sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB light.
  • Use a water-resistant sunscreen.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going out. Follow package instructions about how often to reapply. Be sure to reapply after swimming or sweating.
  • Use sunscreen in winter and on cloudy days, too.  

Use other measures to protect your skin from the sun:

  • Ultraviolet light is most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to avoid the sun during these hours. 
  • Wear wide-brim hats, long-sleeve shirts, long skirts or pants.
  • Keep in mind that some surfaces reflect light, such as water, snow, sand, concrete and areas that are painted white.
  • Remember that the higher the altitude, the faster your skin burns.
  • Do not use sunlamps and tanning beds. Spending 15 to 20 minutes at a tanning bed does as much harm as a day spent in the sun.

Check your skin once a month. Have your doctor check it once a year if you are older than 40 and every three years if you are 20 to 40 years old.

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.

Symptoms

It can be hard to tell if a mole or colored area of the skin is skin cancer. See your doctor if you have a mole or spot that:

  • Changes in size, shape or color
  • Has jagged edges or borders
  • Is more than one color
  • Is bigger on one side than the other
  • Oozes, bleeds or forms an ulcer

Diagnosis

If your doctor thinks you might have a melanoma or other skin cancer, he or she will remove all or some of the spot for biopsy. A pathologist will look at the skin sample under a microscope to check for cancer cells. If you have skin cancer, you may need more tests to see whether it has spread.