Elana Schwam was diagnosed with stage IIIB malignant melanoma and is currently testing a new treatment for her disease.
Center for Melanoma
If you have not previously seen a doctor within the Mass General/Partners HealthCare Network:
Step 1. Obtain a medical record number (MRN).
Call the Mass General Registration & Referral Center to register as a patient and obtain an MRN: 866-211-6588.
Step 2. Call the Cancer Center new patient appointment line: 617-726-5130.
The schedulers can assist you in making the first available appointment with the appropriate physician. To help your call go smoothly, please have ready your:
- Full name and date of birth
- Medical record number
- Medical diagnosis
Call the Center for Melanoma scheduling line: 617-724-5197. They will connect you with your treatment team.
Support Melanoma Research
Your gift will help advance the development of leading edge, targeted treatments for melanoma, personalized for each patient. Make a gift.
Explore the Melanoma Treatment Program
The Center for Melanoma integrates the most current knowledge of cancer genetics, world-class resources for diagnosing and staging skin cancers, and leading-edge treatment approaches to provide personalized care and support services to adults, adolescents and children diagnosed with invasive or non-invasive melanoma.
This program is recognized worldwide for the evaluation and treatment of:
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Merkel cell carcinoma
- Rarer forms of skin cancer
Our physicians and research scientists are recognized globally for developing new treatment approaches for melanoma and other skin cancers. These programs include:
- The Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Clinic, the oldest continually operating multidisciplinary center in the country; specialists within this Center offer expert evaluations of melanoma and related conditions that may be cancerous, from the common to the very rare.
- The Melanoma Genetics Program, which works to identify the genetic causes of skin cancer, and which provides genetic counseling for those with a strong family history of melanoma.
- A melanoma drug discovery program that seeks to understand molecular targets within melanoma cells and identify new drugs capable of attacking those targets
Multidisciplinary Patient Care
Each patient in the melanoma program is cared for by a multidisciplinary team of experts who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers.
Depending on the type and stage of your cancer, your care team may include:
- Dermatologists who monitor your overall skin health
- Dermatopathologists with extensive experience diagnosing skin cancers
- Medical oncologists who combine knowledge of the most promising research-based medical therapies with proven, standard treatment to offer the best options for each patient
- Surgical oncologists skilled in the latest techniques for treating invasive and non-invasive melanoma
- Reconstructive or plastic surgeons to help restore function and appearance post-surgery if necessary
- Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners who specialize in cancer care
- Psychiatric oncologists and Social workers experienced in helping with the cognitive side effects of cancer and treatment, as well the emotional and spiritual aspects of the cancer experience
- A nutritionist to help you with questions about diet and nutrition during treatment
- Palliative care providers to improve quality of life
Members of your care team meet regularly with you and your referring physician to ensure good communication and coordination of care.
Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Cancers
Our dermatologists see a large number of melanoma patients and are highly expert at recognizing suspect moles and other lesions. They are early adopters of techniques and technologies that improve diagnostics and are on the forefront of evaluation and monitoring of melanoma and other skin cancers. The diagnostic and staging information provided by these specialists helps define the best treatment for your disease.
In addition, our world-renowned pathologists are leading research projects to improve diagnoses of melanoma and skin cancers, identify which patients are more likely to develop metastatic disease, and to determine the effectiveness of therapy early in the treatment program.
Excellence in Surgical Care
Our surgeons offer the highest degree of clinical expertise available in the treatment of these cancers. Among the procedures offered here are:
- Surgery and reconstruction for primary melanomas
- Lymphatic mapping and sentinel node biopsy, which can determine if cancer has spread
- Hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion, in which doctors isolate blood flow from an affected limb and then treat the limb with high-dose chemotherapy.
- Advanced plastic and reconstructive surgery
- Resection of melanoma metastases
Pioneering Radiation Therapies
We are one of only a few centers in the country offering proton beam radiation. This approach is being used here for ocular melanoma, providing pinpoint accuracy to help preserve the eye in many cases. Your care team may suggest radiation therapy to reduce the size of tumors that are causing discomfort or interfering with your body’s functioning, or as an adjuvant therapy following removal of lymph nodes containing melanoma. Our radiation technologists are skilled at standard and novel technologies, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
Developing Better Therapies through Research
Melanoma research underway at the Cancer Center is aimed at uncovering cancer-causing gene mutations and drugs that can target them. Studies include examining the effectiveness of existing targeted drugs, identifying tumor biomarkers which may improve management of melanoma in any stage, and studying the molecular basis beneath the link between UV exposure and melanoma and using this information to devise new prevention strategies.
Clinical research is conducted at the Pigmented Lesion Clinic — a major center for melanoma patient care in the New England area and a leader in all aspects of melanoma investigation — and at the Cancer Center, which offers a wide array of experimental therapeutics for patients with advanced melanoma.
Find Clinical Trials for Melanoma.
Find Targeted Therapy Trials for Melanoma.
Meet the Team
Meet our multidisciplinary team of melanoma care providers.
Patient Education & Resources
Learn about Mass General's Melanoma & Skin Cancer Surgery Program.
The nation's longest-standing clinic providing care for patients with cutaneous melanoma.
A checklist of items to bring with you for your first visit and helpful information.
Leapfrog Moments in Cancer Therapies with Keith Flaherty, MD