Melanoma and Skin Program

Leading specialists in the Melanoma and Skin Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology use advanced radiation therapies and techniques to treat melanoma and other malignant skin tumors.

Our Approach

Since the 1970s, we have treated patients with melanoma, squamous cell skin cancer and other malignant skin conditions. Therapy for these diseases has advanced dramatically in recent years, and we work closely with our colleagues at the world-renowned Mass General Cancer Center to improve patient outcomes and provide outstanding, multidisciplinary care.

Most of our patients begin treatment by having their tumors removed surgically. Other patients, when needed, undergo reconstructive surgery to repair affected areas. After these treatments, our radiation oncologists use innovative external beam radiation therapy to destroy remaining diseased tissue and help prevent the tumor from recurring.

Additionally, we administer radiotherapy to patients whose cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Patients with diseased lymph nodes above the chest receive excellent care from a radiation oncologist who also is an expert in treating the head and neck, a region that contains extremely sensitive structures such as the eyes and cranial nerves.

World-Class Clinical Expertise

Every step of your treatment is managed by Paul Busse, MD, PhD, clinical director of the Department of Radiation Oncology and one of the leading practitioners in the field.

Dr. Busse has treated melanoma and other skin cancers since the early 1980s. He also specializes in innovative radiotherapy for head-and-neck tumors, including those affecting the lymph nodes. He regularly treats patients in collaboration with colleagues from the Massachusetts Ear and Ear Infirmary and our Cancer Center.

State-of-the-Art Treatment

To treat melanoma and other skin diseases, we use external beam radiation therapies, which are considered conventional by today's standards. The critical difference, however, lies in how we apply these traditional technologies.

Using advanced 3D-imaging technology, a physicist specifies a highly-defined, three-dimensional treatment area for each patient. This process enables us to precisely target diseased skin at the surface and in the layers below, typically producing excellent outcomes while avoiding the exposure of healthy skin to radiation. This personalized approach ensures patients receive effective therapy but are protected against "over-treatment."

What to ExpectMost of our referrals are from dermatologists. For patients whose dermatologist is not at Mass General, please bring your medical records and any test results with you to your first appointment. We will communicate closely with your specialists throughout your therapy.

We encourage you to ask us about any step in the treatment process, from understanding the safety of your therapy to managing side effects. The answers to many frequently asked questions also appear in Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF).

Melanoma

Melanoma is a disease of the skin in which cancer cells are found in the melanocytes, the cells that produce color in the skin or pigment known as melanin.

Merkel Cell Cancer

Merkel cell cancer is also known as neuroendocrine cancer of the skin, or trabecular cancer.

Other Types of Skin Cancer: Kaposi's Sarcoma / Paget's Disease

Kaposi's sarcoma is a skin cancer that starts in the skin's blood vessels. Kaposi's sarcoma comes in two forms: a slow-growing form, and a more aggressive, faster-spreading form.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells and accounts for more than 50 percent of all cancers.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell skin cancer (sometimes referred to as non-melanoma carcinoma) may appear as nodules, or as red, scaly patches of skin.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF)

Read our patient information guide to learn more about the different types of radiation treatments and what patients can expect.

Oncology Chaplaincy

Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

There’s No Safe Tan

Thinking about heading to an indoor tanning salon this spring? An expert from Mass General’s Department of Dermatology says “think again.”

Target: Melanoma

The latest news on melanoma treatment and research from the new issue of Synergy magazine and a recent edition of the television program Chronicle.

Hensin Tsao, MD, recommends what you can do to protect your family from melanoma

Hensin Tsao, MD, Director of Mass General's Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Center explains how family history, genetic risks and personal health history can all affect your risk of melanoma, and what steps you should take to detect it at an early, treatable stage.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center

The Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Resource Center is a program that offers a range of support resources around the Cancer Center. The center has an ongoing mission to make support services, as well as respite and community-building areas, more accessible to patients and families throughout the Cancer Center.

Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF)

Read our patient information guide to learn more about the different types of radiation treatments and what patients can expect.

Oncology Chaplaincy

Our oncology chaplain is familiar with the unique needs of those with cancer.

Clark Center for Radiation Oncology

Vida E & Arthur L. Goldstein Lunder Building
Lunder Building LL3
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726- 8651
Fax: 857-238-6377
Email: InformationRadOnc@Partners.org

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center
30 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-0923 (Proton Inquiry Line: 617-724-1680)
Fax: 617-726-6498
Email: InformationRadOnc@partners.org