Skin Cancer Care 

When you're a patient at Providence, we don't just treat your skin cancer – we treat you. We use the most advanced treatments to create a highly personalized care plan. We also support you and your loved ones with a full range of services through every stage of your cancer journey. The result is effective, whole-person care for your body, mind and spirit.

Why Choose Us for Skin Cancer Care?

At Providence, we see the life in you. Together, let’s finish cancer – so you don’t have to miss any of life’s special moments.

No two patients, or their treatment plans, are alike. This is why, at Providence, we take a highly personalized approach to your skin cancer care. You’ll experience this through our multidisciplinary tumor boards, where your oncology team collaborates with other cancer care experts about your specific diagnosis. We also offer a Providence Molecular Tumor Board, where we evaluate your genomic and clinical information to find the best genetically matched treatment for you. Your oncology team will work with you directly to design a treatment plan that fits your personal needs. It’s an approach that combines leading-edge treatment with the compassionate care Providence is known for. Why? Because we know this results in the best outcomes.

Most non-melanoma skin cancers are treated by dermatologists, primary care physicians or surgeons, and don’t require complex care. We have more than 250 dermatologists at Providence who treat skin cancers. For patients with melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma or recurrent non-melanoma skin cancers, our expert, multidisciplinary care team will support you through your entire journey. You’ll be treated by medical oncologists who have expertise in using immunotherapy and molecularly targeted therapy to stop tumor growth for melanoma patients. If surgery is required, our board-certified plastic surgeons and dermatologic surgeons use the most cutting-edge techniques. Our team also includes nationally and internationally known scientists and clinical investigators who offer state-of-the-art clinical research trials to patients. It's a team-based approach to skin cancer care. Your care team may include oncology nurse navigators, radiation oncologists and other cancer specialists. We also provide you and your family with a full range of support services well beyond conventional treatment, from genetic counseling and education to nutrition and pain management.

Learn more about the experts who make up our multidisciplinary cancer care teams.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, but access to great skin cancer care hasn’t always been the same for everyone. At Providence, we are deeply committed to making sure every patient we treat has access to the best cancer care. We offer various location-specific services to help our patients receive equitable care, such as translation for non-English-speaking patients, telehealth and transportation assistance. We value, respect and support the racial, ethnic, religious, spiritual, gender and sexual identities of each member of our diverse communities, and we welcome all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. We aim to make sure every patient is treated equally and with dignity – whoever you are, and wherever you're at.

As a patient at Providence, you have access to the largest community-based cancer network in the United States. Being part of a collaborative network means that your local skin cancer care team shares knowledge and experience with other world-class clinicians across 51 hospitals in seven states. The extent and power of our network is one of the reasons more than 2,400 new melanoma patients, and over 50,000 new cancer patients, trust Providence each year.

Providence is well-known for offering options – and hope – to patients seeking the most advanced procedures and therapies to treat skin cancer. We led the global clinical trial of the first immunotherapy medicine approved for patients with melanoma, which was the first to improve patient survival rates. We collaborate with researchers across the country to advance state-of-the-art treatments for skin cancers. As a patient, you have the opportunity to participate in one of over 45 clinical trials happening across the Providence network for advanced skin cancer treatment, such as a clinical trial exploring vaccines for patients experiencing the earlier stages of melanoma.

About Skin Cancer

Skin cancers are cancers that form in the skin cells, most often due to exposure to the sun’s rays. Though some people are at a higher risk for developing it, anyone can get skin cancer. It ranges in severity from the very common and easily treatable non-melanoma skin cancers to the more concerning melanoma, with the highest rate of spread to other sites of the body and the ability to recur many years after the original diagnosis. Although rare, melanomas may also originate in non-skin areas. The expert physicians at Providence use the most effective therapies to treat patients with every type of skin cancer and its related conditions, including:

  • Non-melanoma skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma)
  • Merkel cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Testing and Diagnostics

doctor reviews information on tablet with senior patient

Diagnostic tools help our cancer clinicians determine which therapies will work best for each patient, based on many factors such as cancer type and the genetic or molecular profile of the tumor. Your doctors will use multiple advanced diagnostic and prognostic tools to help design your individualized treatment plan. Depending on your case, this may include one or more of the following:

Personalized Treatment for Skin Cancer

We take a team approach to your skin cancer treatment because we know this offers the best success in controlling and curing cancer. Depending on the complexity of your condition, you may have a multidisciplinary cancer care team working with you. This team will design an individualized cancer care plan – from diagnosis to post-treatment support. We offer many different therapies across our Providence locations. Depending on your condition, your personal care plan may include one or more of the following:

Systemic therapies travel through the bloodstream and affect cells in other body parts. They are used for patients whose cancer has spread to other areas of the body or if there’s a high risk of spread. Sophisticated genetic analysis allows us to target therapies to specific DNA mutations that cause cancer cells to develop and grow. Systemic therapies include:

Clinical trials represent research protocols that include the use of new drugs or drug combinations in a specific clinical situation.

Immunotherapy uses drugs to allow the body’s own immune system to more effectively find and destroy cancer cells.

Molecularly targeted therapy is the use of drugs that are molecularly targeted at a genetic mutation that has allowed the cancer to grow. This therapy enables personalized treatments for patients who carry certain genetic mutations or abnormalities.

Surgical therapies involve an operation or procedure to remove cancer from the body. Surgery may be the main treatment for some invasive cancers, but it’s only one part of the entire treatment plan. Surgical therapies include:

Isolated limb infusion and perfusion a procedure that delivers high doses of chemotherapy by controlling the blood supply to a limb. Catheters are placed in the artery and vein supplying the limb so that chemotherapy can be delivered to and removed from the limb without circulating to the rest of the body.

This technique provides focused treatment to the diseased area and minimizes side effects to the rest of the body. This advanced procedure requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

Regional nodal dissection, also referred to as regional lymphadenectomy, is the surgical removal of lymph nodes near a tumor. The nodes are then checked for the presence of cancer cells.

Sentinel lymph node mapping and biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the use of a mapping technique to identify and remove the first lymph node(s) to which cancer cells are most likely to have spread from the primary tumor.

Simple excision is a procedure to remove an abnormality from the body, such as a cyst, mole, or suspected skin cancer.

Wide excision is a procedure to remove aggressive melanoma, an advanced type of skin cancer. It involves surgical removal of the cancer cells, along with a margin of the normal skin surrounding them.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation from a source like X-rays or photons to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. It may be part of a treatment plan that also includes systemic therapies and/or surgery. Radiation is sometimes used to help ease a patient’s pain or discomfort. Radiation therapies include:

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) are advanced types of radiation therapies. IMRT uses advanced technology to manipulate the radiation beams to conform to the shape of a tumor. VMAT is a subtype of IMRT in which the machine actively delivers radiation beams while moving in an arc around the patient.

This method of radiation delivery offers next-generation capabilities. The arc-based therapy provided via VMAT delivers high doses of radiation to more focused areas, reducing side effects and the overall treatment time for the patient. This treatment is particularly effective at treating several types of cancer while at the same time reducing toxicity and harm to vital organs.

This procedure is one of several new ways to deliver radiation therapy. It requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

Surface-guided radiation therapy (SGRT/SIGRT) is an approach to radiation targeting that offers real-time beam guidance from face and body surface-recognition systems.

This treatment is particularly effective at treating several types of cancer while at the same time reducing toxicity and harm to vital organs, thus minimizing side effects.

This advanced procedure requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

Stereotactic radiation (SABR/SBRT) is a group of treatments that includes stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and stereotactic ablative radiation (SABR) – both of which are adaptations of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) – for the treatment of targets in the body, but outside the brain. Similar to SRS, these techniques deliver very high doses of radiation using sophisticated motion management and patient immobilization techniques.

The number of radiation treatments is minimal and may range from one to five treatments delivered over one to two weeks.

This procedure is one of several new ways to deliver radiation therapy. It requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) is a radiation planning and treatment technique in which three-dimensional (3D) imaging enables improved targeting for radiation treatment. 3D planning with CT imaging makes radiation treatment much more conformal, or tailored to the target.

Additional therapies may also be part of the treatment plan for a small number of patients. These may include:

Intralesional therapy is an injection of anti-cancer therapy directly into a cancerous tumor (also known as a lesion). By delivering anti-cancer treatment directly into tumors, effective tumor control can often be achieved without the patient experiencing the side effects and toxicity of systemic treatment.

This advanced procedure can only be delivered by specially trained and highly experienced physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

You will be provided with supportive therapies to prevent or relieve symptoms and to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout the course of your treatment.

Lymphedema therapy may include several types of therapy used to address the buildup of lymph fluid that can be caused by cancer or its treatment. These treatments may include massage, the wrapping of an extremity or the use of mechanical pumps to move fluid back into circulation.

Find Skin Cancer Care Close to You

Accreditations

We are proud to see our dedication to our cancer patients recognized by some of the most well-respected programs and institutions in the United States. Several of our Providence locations have achieved the following accreditations:

Meet the Team

At Providence, you'll have access to a vast network of dedicated and compassionate providers who offer personalized care by focusing on treatment, prevention and health education.

Senior woman looking hopeful as she gazes out window

Find Clinical Trials

Are you looking for a clinical trial for yourself or for a patient? We’d love to help you find one!

Expert Tips and Advice for Cancer

2/26/2024
Two early phase trials available at Providence Cancer Institute to evaluate escalating doses of different potential cancer treatments in patients with advanced solid tumors.
2/26/2024
The Food and Drug Administration has approved an adoptive cell therapy for adult patients with melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic).
2/21/2024
Supporting thousands of patients experiencing food insecurity, a converted space at Providence Gateway Internal Medicine clinic is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, milk, eggs and more.
2/19/2024
​​​​​​​Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center has opened a Multi-Cancer Early Detection Clinic, the first of its kind in the San Fernando Valley.