Your Winship care team draws on Emory’s vast resources in dermatology, surgical oncology, and medical oncology to provide the newest, most effective practices and treatments for melanoma. Our Melanoma Program is a coordinated, cohesive program with a dedicated treatment plan established for each patient.
As specialists, our teams develop groundbreaking surgeries and treatments that produce better outcomes and are adopted by other leading cancer centers. Our melanoma team treats patients with squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, merkel cell carcinoma and even rarer forms of melanoma, such as, mucosal melanoma and ocular melanoma.
The benefits of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:
- Access to doctors and surgeons who rank among the top cancer experts in the world.
- Access to the Pigmented Lesions Clinic for high risk cases.
- Weekly review of patient cases by the full team of experts.
- Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
- Access to our melanoma coordinator to assist you through out the treatment process.
- Access to support groups and education classes for you and your caregivers.
- Availability of new treatment options within our clinical trials program.
A suspicious lesion on the skin may prompt a doctor to perform the following surgical procedures to determine if a patient has melanoma:
Skin biopsy: a small sample of an abnormal lesion is examined under a microscope. Skin biopsies can be performed in various ways:
- Shave biopsy: the top layers of the skin are removed when the risk of melanoma is very low.
- Punch biopsy: a doctor uses a small cookie-cutter shaped tool to remove several layers of the skin.
- Excisional biopsy: the entire tumor is removed and examined by a pathologist.
Additional tests including imaging and scans may be used to determine whether the cancer has spread or metastasized.
Surgery is the first line of treatment if melanoma has not spread throughout the body. For some patients, removing the tumor will offer a cure. Patients with advanced disease may require additional surgery, radiation therapy or immunotherapy following surgery.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beans to kill the cancer. Learn more about radiation therapy treatments and services.
Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy delivered through medication that stimulates or suppresses the immune system to fight cancer.
Certain skin cancers of the lower extremities may require removal of the local lymph nodes. Here at Winship, our doctors have pioneered a groin dissection technique for the removal of lymph nodes that improves recovery and lowers the risk of infection.
Targeted therapies: Winship's most promising research in treating melanoma is in personalized medicine and targeted therapies. In personalized medicine, researchers identify unique characteristics of tumors that make them vulnerable to known drugs so therapy can be tailored to an individual’s cancer. In targeted therapies, investigators look for new drugs that more selectively target cancer cells with fewer side effects.
Chemotherapy may be used to treat advanced melanoma. It is not often used during initial treatment because of the availability of immunotherapy and targeted therapy.
In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from our melanoma coordinator and our team of counselors, dietitians and social service professionals.
We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help. Learn what to expect on your first visit.
Your Treatment Team
- Physician Diagnosticians
- Nurse Navigators
- Adv Practice
- Support Services
- Clinical Trials
- As the melanoma coordinator, Ms. McKellar serves as the point of contact for referring physicians and their patients from their initial referrals through long-term follow-up.
- Physician Assistant, Surgical Oncology and Dermatology , Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
- (404) 778-4919
- Dr. Carlson is a leading expert in breast reconstruction and skin sparing mastectomy for patients with breast cancer, and microvascular surgery for head and neck cancer patients.
- Wadley R. Glenn Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-3307
- Board certified in anatomic pathology and in dermatopathology, Dr. Parker is involved in the histopathologic interpretation and diagnosis of skin lesions for patients at both Emory University Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital.
- Associate Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 712-5947
- Ms. Pietras leads the coordination of clinical research for the melanoma and neuro-oncology working groups at Winship Cancer Institute.
- Clinical Research Team Supervisor, Melanoma and Neuro-Oncology, Clinical Trials Office, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
- (404) 778-3612
- Dr. Russell's treats melanoma and metastatic melanoma, tumors of the liver, biliary tract, pancreas, spleen and gallbladder, metastatic tumors to the liver, tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, and neuroendocrine tumors.
- Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 686-3203
- Dr. Stoff specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer and is a member of the multidisciplinary melanoma team at Winship Cancer Institute.
- Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology, Department of Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-3333