Melanoma Program

melanoma tumor board

Program Overview

At Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, our clinicians and researchers are committed to the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of melanoma, skin cancer and cutaneous malignancies. 

The Melanoma program offers a multidisciplinary approach to care, providing customized treatment plans that may include a combination of one or more therapies.

Our team includes specialists in dermatology, medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, plastic surgery, head and neck surgery, psychosocial oncology, pathology, dermatopathology and epidemiology. Other members of the team include advanced practitioner nurses as well as a full-time medical photographer, who brings skill and sensitivity to photographing a patient's skin. Photographs are often an important way to monitor changes in mole patterns over time.

Conditions Treated by the Melanoma Program

Of the many different types of melanoma, most are seen in the skin (this also includes nail beds, soles of the feet, and scalp), but melanoma can also occur in the eye or on mucosal surfaces which include the anal canal, rectum and vagina.

Learn more about melanoma.

Why Penn's Melanoma Program is Different?

Our program offers:

  • Nationally recognized experts who perform comprehensive evaluation for melanoma and cutaneous malignancies
  • Advanced diagnostic testing, treatments and technologies for patients
  • A strong focus on patient education and monitoring so that melanoma can be prevented or caught early
  • Emphasis on the family, since melanoma risk can be high among family members

Treatments and Services Offered by the Melanoma Program

We tailor a treatment plan specifically to you, based on your genetic makeup, family history and medical history. Possible treatments and services include:

A Premier Research Program

Our Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research Program is one of the nation's best and is dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma.

  • Our melanoma program has been recognized by the NCI as "outstanding", the highest rating possible for a cancer research program. An "outstanding" rating signifies excellence in overall program quality, representation of relevant scientific disciplines, translation of new findings to the clinical setting, conduct of clinical trials, interaction of researchers, and caliber of program members and leadership.
  • We continuously seek ways to not only decrease the suffering caused by melanoma, but to cure it. We are developing and testing prevention, detection and treatment strategies including:
    • Understanding who is at risk for melanoma including genetic risk factors.
    • Determining your risk for melanoma occurrence and therefore appropriate treatment.
    • Finding newer and better ways to predict outcomes by studying current melanoma staging systems and their ability to predict outcomes.
    • Studying ways to determine predictors of positive sentinel lymph node in patients with thin melanomas.
    • Clinical trials collaboration with other centers to bring targeted therapies to large national Phase III status.
  • We are carrying out a number of clinical trials of new treatments for melanoma, and in particular for advanced melanoma. Our trials are based on research findings from our lab and clinical investigators.