Melanoma and Skin Cancer Surgery Program
The Melanoma and Skin Cancer Surgery Program at Massachusetts General Hospital offers expert surgical care within a multidisciplinary Cancer Center team.
Our Melanoma Surgeons
A Multidisciplinary Approach to Specialized Care
The Melanoma and Skin Cancer Surgery Program in Surgical Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital offers expert melanoma and skin cancer surgery within a multidisciplinary team consisting of medical and radiation oncologists, dermatologists and dermapathologists. Our specialists provide surgical services for patients in the Mass General Cancer Center and the Mass General Melanoma Center and Pigmented Lesion Center (PLC).
Mass General’s melanoma and skin cancer surgical oncologists have undergone specialty training in oncology and offer a high degree of specialization and expertise. Cancer surgery is generally considered complex surgery, and published data have demonstrated that hospitals and surgeons with the highest volume experience with specific operations have the lowest complication and death rates. Recognizing the relationship between frequency of performing an operation and the quality of outcomes, each surgeon in the Division of Surgical Oncology focuses his or her clinical practice on the management of one or two diseases. Our surgeons are highly specialized, highly experienced and nationally recognized experts.
Working within a multidisciplinary team, melanoma and skin cancer surgeons perform a range of surgeries and procedures, including:
- Surgery for primary melanomas
- Advanced plastic surgical reconstructions
- Lymphatic mapping and sentinel node biopsy, which can determine if cancer has spread
- Lymph node dissections
- Hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion with melphalan for in-transit metastases, a procedure in which surgeons isolate blood flow from an affected limb and then treat the limb with high-dose chemotherapy
- Liver resections for selected patients with ocular melanoma liver metastases
Additionally, genetic counseling is offered through the Mass General Center for Cancer Risk Assessment to assess hereditary risk in young patients and patients with strong family histories of melanoma.
Integrated Care From the Start
Frequently Asked Questions
Our team answers your questions about:
Patients with melanomas, as well as other stages of skin cancer, are evaluated in the Center for Melanoma's multidisciplinary sessions. During your first visit, you will meet with a number of specialists in addition to your surgeon, who will review your medical history and diagnosis. This multidisciplinary team is on the leading edge in melanoma detection, prevention and treatment and offers participation in many clinical trials.
Very rarely is a procedure performed at an initial consultation. We ask that you bring any imaging and pathology reports, along with a list of medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, including their dosages.
Treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits, will be discussed in detail. Our aim during the consultation is to give you the information you need to make decisions about your care.
What to Expect After Surgery
Surgery for melanomas and skin cancer is usually done through our outpatient clinic. Recovery time post-surgery varies depending on the extent and location of the procedure, but in many cases, it involves a couple of weeks of careful activity.
Your surgeon will schedule a follow-up visit two weeks after your surgery to assess your progress and discuss next steps in your treatment plan.
Mass General Difference
Mass General and the Mass General Cancer Center are consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our ranking is based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in more than a dozen specialties. Our commitment to excellence means that we work to ensure that you receive the best care at all points during your visit.
As an academic center, Mass General and the Mass General Cancer Center invest in research to understand diseases and develop new approaches in treatment. Our doctors are leaders within their respective fields and collaborate with colleagues in various departments across the hospital. As a patient, you benefit from shared expertise, leading research, and our commitment to quality and excellence.
Access to Leading Research and Clinical Trials
Surgeons within our division conduct critical research on melanoma and skin cancer. In addition, the Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies at the Mass General Cancer Center researches innovative ways to deliver personalized targeted therapies to patients. You may be qualified to participate in one of our research studies or clinical trials. Your care team can help determine whether research opportunities are available to you. Read about current research and clinical trials
Appointments and Referrals
To make an appointment, you will need a referral from your dermatologist or primary care physician. You may request an appointment online or call 617-726-5507. Once your request is received, a coordinator will contact you to schedule your first appointment. Appointments are usually scheduled within a week.
Basal cell cancer, sometimes called non-melanoma skin cancer, usually appears as a small, fleshy bump or nodule on the head, neck, or hands. Occasionally, these nodules appear on the trunk of the body, usually as flat growths.
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.
Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells and accounts for more than 50 percent of all cancers.
Squamous cell skin cancer (sometimes referred to as non-melanoma carcinoma) may appear as nodules, or as red, scaly patches of skin.
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.