Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Melanoma & Related Skin Cancers

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Melanoma is a cancer that is related to the pigment cells, melanocytes, normally present in the upper layer of skin. Although melanoma accounts for less than 5% of skin cancer cases, it causes most deaths associated with skin cancer. Other types of non-melanoma skin cancers are often grouped together and include basal cell and squamous cell cancers.

The Sylvester multidisciplinary melanoma program is focused on delivering compassionate and state-of-the-art patient care, and incorporates the best from dermatology, surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, and dermatopathology. New patient care is coordinated through our site disease nurse facilitating personalized care and appointments. To schedule a visit with one of our specialists, please call 305-243-7074.

Treatment & Diagnosis

There are several kinds of treatments for skin cancer. The most common is surgery, which is used about 90 percent of the time. A doctor can determine the most appropriate surgical procedure to remove the cancer, and if appropriate, replace skin that is damaged when the cancer is removed. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, additional therapy, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy, may be recommended.

Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery, a highly effective treatment for certain types of skin cancer, provides the most precise method for removal of all cancerous tissue, while sparing the greatest amount of healthy tissue. It has the best cure rate for basal cell carcinoma and is useful in treating tumors on or near the nose, eyes, ears, forehead, scalp, fingers, and genital area. Mohs surgery is especially useful in treating large tumors, tumors in certain critical locations, and those that have come back after other treatments. Mohs surgery is offered at Sylvester, is completed in just one office visit, and has a nearly 100 percent cure rate.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells in a localized area. Radiation therapy is generally divided into daily doses and is directed at the body by a machine.


Chemotherapy, given as a cream or lotion or taken by pill or needle injection, interferes with the cancer cell’s ability to grow or reproduce. Biological therapy, also called immunotherapy, uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer or lessen the side effects of cancer treatment. These drugs that mimic or imitate substances produced by the body in small amounts to fight infection can help prevent the recurrence of melanoma.

The specific treatment a doctor prescribes will depend on several factors, and may involve a combination of treatment therapies.

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