Melanocytes are the pigment-producing cells in your body. While most reside on your skin, they can also be found in your eyes, lips, nailbeds and internal organs. Melanoma originates in melanocytes.
There are many subtypes of melanoma — the main four being superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma and lentigo maligna melanoma — and rarer conditions like spitzoid melanoma, nevoid melanoma, desmoplastic melanoma, uveal melanoma or ocular melanoma, and mucosal melanoma.
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 100,000 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed this year (about 57,000 in men and 42,000 in women).
Skin cancer is the most prevalent of all cancers in the United States, and melanoma is the most severe skin cancer type. It also makes up just 1% of all skin cancer diagnoses. Early detection is critical, as survival rates worsen with later detection.
The five-year survival rate for Stage 1 melanoma is 98%, for Stage 3 melanoma is 63% and for Stage 4 is 17%.
City of Hope’s team of internationally trained dermatologists and dermatopathologists uses their clinical expertise and leading-edge technology to provide the most accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. This combination of experience and talent gives City of Hope its reputation for transforming melanoma patients with advanced disease and dire diagnoses into survivors.
City of Hope’s approach to treating skin cancer starts with a coordinated, multidisciplinary care team whose primary goal is offering you the best, most individualized treatment plan. Your plan includes the newest therapies — including immunotherapies — and innovative treatment combinations effective for even the most advanced melanoma patients.
Skin cancer is a disease that can appear in different ways in the body. Research at City of Hope — driven by patient-specific, individualized treatment strategies — is focused on those differences and on designing therapies that affect how skin cancer develops, progresses and spreads.
Getting treated for skin cancer at City of Hope means you are steps away from labs where new cancer treatments are being developed every day. That proximity means you benefit from something unique in cancer care — bench-to-bedside treatment.
When you come to City of Hope, you have access to a strong network of support services and staff to help you and your family along your skin cancer journey.
City of Hope is internationally recognized for its research and breakthrough treatments, has been named one of America’s top cancer hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for more than a decade.
Our Commitment To Providing Exceptional Care Includes:
- Promising new therapies as part of our clinical trials program, including novel intralesional injection therapies. These include studying commercially approved agents such as TVEC, an oncolytic virus that directly targets melanoma tumors with other therapies.
- Collaboration with the Melanoma Research Foundation, National Clinical Trials Network, Cytokine Working Group, SWOG Cancer Research Network, and Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network, providing quick access to the newest therapies and clinical trials
- Deep experience with immunotherapy-based treatments — including pivotal clinical trials for widely used drugs like ipilimumab, nivolumab and pembrolizumab
- Expertise with isolated limb infusion, a focused chemotherapy treatment unavailable at most other cancer centers
- Our internationally trained dermatopathologist combines clinical experience with leading-edge technology to provide the most accurate diagnosis.
- Tumor testing and customized drug therapy tailored to the molecular profile of specific skin cancers
- Expertise in advanced facial reconstructive and microvascular procedures for patients with complex skin cancers
- Survivorship clinics — including physical therapy for lymphedema-related side effects — provide support and monitoring throughout the disease.
Your care includes regular interaction and input from a team that includes oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, dermatologists and pathologists, along with nurses, social workers and specially trained support staff.
City of Hope is one of only a few dozen centers in the U.S. using a comprehensive approach by a multidisciplinary team whose sole focus is treating skin cancer.
Our developments in the areas of breakthrough cancer drugs, bone marrow transplants and CAR T cell therapy are recognized internationally.
Our leadership in research and innovation continually enhances our ability to provide novel and differentiated approaches to cancer care.
Arya Amini, M.D., is a radiation oncologist and associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at City of Hope.
Antoine Lyonel Carré, M.D., M.P.H., is a plastic surgeon specializing in such areas as breast reconstruction, lymphedema, perineal reconstruction, abdominal wall reconstruction and targeted muscle reinnervation for chronic/phantom pain.
Jeff Chang, M.D., M.S., is a plastic surgeon specializing in oncologic reconstruction, lower extremity salvage, and lymphedema surgery.
Thomas J. Gernon, M.D., is an otolaryngologist specializing in the treatment of head and neck cancers, particularly HPV-related malignancies, at City of Hope in Duarte and South Pasadena.
Robert Kang, M.D., brings his highly skilled expertise in advanced facial reconstructive and microvascular procedures to patients with complex and challenging head and neck cancers at City of Hope's comprehensive cancer center.
Lily Lai, M.D., is a colorectal surgeon and associate professor in the Division of Colorectal Surgery, Department of Surgery.
Wai-Yee Li, M.D., Ph.D., is a plastic surgeon specializing in breast and skin cancer reconstruction and lymphedema.
Ellie Maghami, M.D., is a head, neck and thryoid cancer surgeon and The Norman and Sadie Lee Foundation Endowed Professor in Head and Neck Cancer.
Laleh G. Melstrom, M.D., M.S., specializes in melanoma and pancreatic cancers.
Dermatologist Badri Modi, M.D., focuses on high-risk skin cancers and melanoma and is an associate clinical professor in the Division of Dermatology.
Moshe Faynsod, M.D., is surgical oncologist at City of Hope ǀ South Bay in Torrance, California.
Aaron Lewis, M.D., is a surgeon at City of Hope's South Pasadena and Arcadia locations, specializing in general oncologic surgery.
Vishwas Parekh, M.D., is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Pathology, City of Hope.
I. Benjamin Paz, M.D., is a nationally renowned surgical oncology surgeon, with expertise in breast cancer, gastrointestinal and rectal cancers, and tumors involving the bone and soft tissues.
Christiane Querfeld, M.D., Ph.D., is a dermatologist and dermatopathologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous lymphoma.
Sagus Sampath, M.D., Radiation Oncologist | City of Hope, Los Angeles, California.
Hans Schoellhammer, M.D., is a surgical oncologist and melanoma expert at City of Hope.
Vijay Trisal, M.D., the Dr. Norman & Melinda Payson Professor in Medicine and chief medical officer at City of Hope, is an advocate for individualized patient care and expanding access to City of Hope’s advanced therapies and specialized physicians across local communities.
Alex K. Wong, M.D., is a plastic surgeon and a professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Wong specializes in reconstruction of defects and complex wounds after cancer treatment and surgery.
Yan Xing, M.D., Ph.D., is a medical oncologist and an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research.