Cancer Services

Skin Cancer

NewYork-Presbyterian provides advanced care for melanoma and other types of skin cancer, such as basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. From minimally invasive skin cancer surgery to advanced chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and investigational anticancer approaches, we offer every kind of treatment for every type and stage of skin cancer. The teams of experts in all cutaneous malignancies tailor a plan of treatments and personalized care and follow-up that meets individual medical needs and consider personal preferences.

World-Recognized Leaders in Cancer Care

We are home to two of the nation's leading cancer centers: the National Cancer Institute-designated Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center of New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center (one of only four comprehensive cancer centers in New York State) and Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, as well as the Ronald P Stanton Clinical Cancer Program at NewYork-Presbyterian.

A Team of Skin Cancer Specialists

Your personalized care team includes all of the experts needed to care for skin cancer, such as dermatologists, dermatopathologists (doctors with advanced training in histology/pathology of the skin that are able to assist in the diagnosis of skin disorders), medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, Mohs surgeons, plastic surgeons, dietitians, social workers, psychologists, oncology nurses and many others. Together they collaborate to customize your care.

Finding Skin Cancers Early

We offer mole mapping service for people who have many atypical moles or have a high risk of developing melanoma. The baseline very high-resolution mapping photography provides details of the entire skin surface and creates a body map, which like a world map shows every detail of your skin, including your moles and any other growths. For the most challenging moles, we use a digital skin surface microscopy or dermoscopy. It allows us to see the structures under the skin surface and helps us to distinguish malignant skin lesions, such as melanoma, from benign. In addition to the professional assessments, patients receive an instruction and a copy of their own mole map to help them to conduct their monthly melanoma self-checks. Mole mapping allows us to rapidly detect changes in lesions and identify those that may require a biopsy.

We also host free skin cancer screenings each May as part of the American Academy of Dermatology's Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Screening initiative. We also offer specialized services to people who have undergone organ transplants and are at higher risk for skin cancer due to the immune-suppressing drugs they take.

Genetic Counseling and Testing

Some skin cancers run in families. If you have a strong family history of certain types of skin cancer- such as melanoma, you may benefit from meeting with a genetic counselor to discuss your risk. You may choose to have genetic testing, and if you do, your genetic counselor will explain the results to you. Genetic counselors can work with you to create a schedule of skin screenings and discuss other measures you can take to reduce your risk.

Experts in Mohs Surgery

Our skin cancer surgeons approach tumor removal with your appearance in mind. Mohs surgery is a technique performed by our highly trained doctors. During Mohs surgery, the tumor is removed layer by layer and microscopically examined each time during the procedure to ensure elimination of cancer while preserving as much healthy skin as possible.

Nonsurgical Treatments for Skin Cancer

For people who can't have surgery and those whose skin cancer requires therapy other than surgery, we offer the full range of nonsurgical treatments.

  • Radiation therapy. We use radiation to treat some large or oddly situated skin cancers and metastatic melanoma. We also use it after surgery in some people to kill any remaining cancer cells. NewYork-Presbyterian's radiation treatment centers are state-of-the-art facilities featuring the latest highly focused radiation technologies.
  • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapies boost the power of the immune system to find and kill cancer cells, and there are several types of immunotherapies for skin cancer. NewYork-Presbyterian has one of the strongest immunotherapy programs in the world, featuring pioneers in this field and clinical trials of novel immunotherapy approaches. Our oncology nurses oversee the administration of immunotherapies in our comfortable and modern infusion centers.
  • Chemotherapy. People with advanced melanoma who cannot receive other therapies may receive chemotherapy, delivered in our infusion centers.
  • Targeted therapies. Some people with certain skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans that have invaded other tissues, receive anticancer drugs that target the molecular pathways driving cancer growth. Our physicians are very experienced in the use of these medications.

Skin Cancer Clinical Trials

NewYork-Presbyterian has a robust portfolio of cancer clinical trials, including studies evaluating promising new therapies and treatment combinations for metastatic skin cancer. Your doctor will let you know if you are eligible to participate in a clinical trial of an innovative therapy.

Supportive Care to Address All Your Needs

Our nutritionists, social workers, palliative care experts, and others will help you and your loved ones address the effects of cancer and its treatment—physical, emotional, and spiritual. We understand the burden that cancer can place on your life and the lives of your loved ones, and we do whatever we can to lessen that burden.

Specialists and Subspecialists in Every Area

NewYork-Presbyterian is known throughout the world as a leading provider of health care. As a major medical center, we can address all of your healthcare needs, such as co-existing conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and connect you with the specialists you need to meet those needs.