Melanoma care at Mayo Clinic

Melanoma treatment at Mayo Clinic

Tina J. Hieken, M.D., surgical oncologist: Patients with melanoma of all stages, from early to late, can really benefit from care here at Mayo Clinic. Individualizing care is really important and really considering the whole patient, and that is something that we're really adept at.

Alexander Meves, M.D., M.B.A., dermatologist: We have a nice culture of innovation where people come together and they have this sort of win-win mentality and they want to really build something new for patients.

Dr. Hieken: We're really fortunate here to have this multidisciplinary, integrated clinical and research practice with access to the latest treatments, clinical trials that are testing what we know to be the best against what may actually be better and perhaps less toxic to patients, adopting ways of being more precise in our care for patients.

Jeffrey E. Johnson, M.D., surgical oncologist: When we meet patients, they get a full skin exam. We look at everything from head to toe and make sure we're not missing anything. That initial pathology is what really determines the first steps in treatment. After that, you meet with a surgeon and we talk about the options for surgery. And that's usually the first step in treatment for melanoma is surgery.

Dr. Hieken: Here we have surgeons who are really specialized and have a lot of expertise in doing melanoma surgery and doing it in a way that minimizes short-term complications and improves the cosmetic or aesthetic outcomes of surgery.

Dr. Meves: We recommend a procedure we call a wide local excision, which means we cut around the biopsy site, but we go a little deeper than usual. We take out all the fat tissue. We go down to the so-called fascia of the muscle. So we go deep. That's the minimum amount of surgery that we think people should get if they have a melanoma. Then the question is, do we need to do more than that? Do we need to take out lymphatic tissue, for example.

Dr. Hieken: We have adopted technical advances in the practice, such as minimally invasive techniques, vein-preserving techniques that we know really improve long-term outcomes, and other methods that we have for decreasing complications of surgery in the short term, with a real attention to technical advances in care.

Dr. Johnson: Intralesional therapy is a way to target specific lesions as they develop in the skin. It's a way to harness the body's immune system to attack those lesions. And so, we can often, for patients with advanced melanoma that's spreading through the skin or through the tissues right below the skin or through the lymph nodes, we can inject that with therapies that help the body attack the melanoma. And it not only attacks those lesions, but hopefully attacks other melanoma developing in the body.

A melanoma diagnosis is never the end of the road. We have such good options, whether it's early stage melanoma. There are really good medical options for even late stage melanoma that we haven't had until recent years. So for every single patient, there's hope.

Why choose Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic doctors are highly experienced in providing comprehensive care for people with melanoma.

Your Mayo Clinic care team

At Mayo Clinic, you'll receive coordinated care from a team of doctors and other healthcare professionals. Mayo Clinic doctors work together to provide you with the best care possible that is tailored to your needs.

Your care team may include dermatologists, oncologists, pathologists, general surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, and other professionals, as needed.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Mayo Clinic doctors have access to the latest in diagnostic methods and treatment innovations to improve care for people with melanoma.

Mayo Clinic's surgical pathologists and dermatopathologists are respected for their expertise in identifying melanoma stage, depth and severity, which is critical for selecting the most appropriate treatment combination.

Mayo Clinic doctors will work with you to review all of your treatment options and choose the treatment that best suits your needs and goals. The range of treatments offered to people with melanoma includes surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and chemotherapy.

The Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research Program at Mayo Clinic incorporates scientific discovery and clinical translation into a seamless effort aimed at improving the lives of people with melanoma.

The Mayo Clinic experience and patient stories

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care like they've never experienced. See the stories of satisfied Mayo Clinic patients.

Expertise and rankings

Mayo Clinic doctors have the knowledge and experience to provide comprehensive care to people with melanoma. At Mayo Clinic, you can expect:

  • Personalized care. At Mayo Clinic, a multidisciplinary group of experts forms a team to care for people with melanoma. This ensures that all your needs are met.
  • Experience you can trust. Mayo Clinic doctors have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating melanoma.
  • Nationally recognized expertise. Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center meets the strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center. These standards recognize scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is ranked as the top hospital in Minnesota, Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, is ranked as the top hospital in Arizona, and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, is ranked the top hospital in Florida.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

For more information on visiting Mayo Clinic, choose your location below:

Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.

More information about billing and insurance:

Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota

Mayo Clinic Health System

Dec. 30, 2023

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