Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Melanoma Expertise

The Stanford Skin Cancer Program offers long-standing clinical expertise in the management of melanoma, and continues to pioneer new approaches to understanding and treating this less common, but aggressive, form of skin cancer.

Among the specialized treatments available to Program patients are:

Watch a video of Dr. Susan Swetter,
professor of dermatology, giving an
overview of melanoma

  • State-of-art total body digital mole mapping for early detection of melanoma. A combined  PET/CT scanner creates a fusion of diagnostic capabilities to deliver the most accurate and sensitive detection of melanoma possible.
  • The sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLN) examines the regional lymph nodes for possible microscopic spread of melanoma. This advanced procedure sequentially combines preoperative lymphoscintigraphy and intraoperative mapping to provide a highly accurate means of identifying the sentinel lymph in malignant melanoma. Use of a novel gamma camera device to improve accurate SLN identification is underway through a collaboration between our melanoma surgeons and the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) is used to detect melanoma within the body as part of the staging work up. PET scanners do not use standard radiation, and reveal collections of melanoma cells in the body that may otherwise be clinically or radiologically undetectable.  Stanford physicians were among the first in the nation to explore the use of PET for detection of metastatic disease in melanoma patients and routinely use the combined PET-computed tomography (CT) scanners for the most accurate staging and surveillance of patients with melanoma and other cancers.
  • CyberKnife, a stereotactic radiosurgery technology developed by Stanford Neurosurgery almost 20 years ago is available for treatment of brain metastases.  
  • Immunotherapies, including ipilimumab and adjuvant high-dose interferon for metastatic melanoma patients
  • Novel chemoprevention trials to prevent the development of skin cancer (both melanoma and nonmelanoma types) in high-risk individuals.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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