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Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers

Skin cancer affects more people here in Ohio than you might expect. In fact, our state has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the country, according to data from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

That's a scary statistic, but here’s the good news: Skin cancer doesn't need to be a part of your life. With proper skin cancer screenings from a MetroHealth dermatologist, you might be able to spot skin changes early, before they become dangerous. And if you have skin cancer, MetroHealth can provide you with oncology expertise and comprehensive treatments that can help you get back on the road to wellness fast.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for adult or pediatric patients, call 216-778-DERM (3376).

What is Melanoma?

There are several types of cancer of the skin, but melanoma is the most serious type. Melanomas, or cancerous melanoma growths, form in skin cells called melanocytes. These are the cells that produce melanin, the brown pigment that gives skin color and helps protect it from sun exposure.

Often melanomas form on your chest, legs, face or neck. But you can get them anywhere, even on parts of your body that aren’t exposed to the sun. These include your mouth, the soles of your feet, under your nails or your genitals. The growths usually look like unusual moles or dark spots.

While melanomas can be dangerous, they're not common. According to the ACS, only about 1 percent of skin cancers are melanomas. Here's more good news: When caught early, most of these growths are highly treatable. Still, melanoma is particularly dangerous because it can spread to other parts of your body, including the lymph nodes, lungs, liver and brain.

Other types of skin cancer include:

  • Basal cell carcinoma. The most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma often looks like pinkish bumps or patches. Early detection and treatment is important, because this type of skin cancer can spread to surrounding skin, nerves and bones.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. Often, it looks like a red bump, scaly patch or a sore that won't heal.

Screening for Skin Cancer

When caught early, skin cancer is easier to treat. That's why annual screenings are so important for your health. Think of them as physicals for your skin. At MetroHealth, we offer skin cancer screenings in our Dermatology Department.

An annual screening is just one tool you can use to detect skin cancer. It's a good idea to perform monthly self-checks on your skin. Here's how:

  • Use a mirror to thoroughly examine your entire body. Look for any changes to existing moles, or any new or unusual growths.
  • If you spot something suspicious, visit your MetroHealth dermatologist as soon as possible. He or she can examine the growth and determine whether testing and/or treatment is needed. If so, your dermatologist can work with our skin cancer team to get you the care you need.

Skin Cancer Treatment at MetroHealth

If you're diagnosed with skin cancer, MetroHealth is the best place to come for care. Our team of experienced physicians are committed to helping you get better. They'll work with other MetroHealth oncology specialists to get you the treatments you need—which might include surgery.

Our specially trained surgeons offer Mohs micrographic surgery, an advanced procedure that removes cancerous tissue layer by layer. Mohs surgery is used to treat non-melanoma cancers, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Instead of cutting out your tumor along with portions of healthy skin, Mohs surgery is more precise. Your surgeon can take out less tissue while removing all of your tumor. This surgery could leave you with less scarring—and a smaller chance that your skin cancer will come back.

The majority of Mohs surgeries take so little tissue that people don’t require a skin flap or graft when the surgery is done. But if you do need any reconstructive surgery after your tumor is removed, we can perform it the same day.

MetroHealth also offers radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments for cancer. If you need these therapies, your skin cancer doctor will work with you to make sure your treatments are as effective as they can be. And we'll connect you with other resources, including cancer navigators, who can help you understand your treatments and help with any side effects they might cause.

Our Department of Radiology can also offer you PET, CT and MRI scans so that your oncologist can keep track of your tumor's size and step in if the cancer is spreading to other parts of your body.

We'll also make sure you have access to the latest treatments. We're committed to staying on top of the ongoing research, so we're one of the first to know about new clinical trials that could help fight your cancer.

Nationally-Renowned Experts

When you come to MetroHealth, you'll be treated by recognized leaders in the field of skin cancer. They're dedicated to providing patients with the best possible care, and to conducting research for new skin cancer treatments.

You'll also be connected to oncology nurses, radiologists, chemotherapy technicians and skin cancer surgeons who will all be working with you to help you fight your cancer.

We can offer you 23 years of experience and expertise in skin cancer treatment. And our compassion is clear. You'll feel the difference as soon as you walk through the door.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for adult or pediatric patients, call 216-778-DERM (3376).


Our Doctors/Medical Providers

Joanna M. Brell, MD

Joanna M. Brell, MD


47 ratings / 7 reviews
Katherine C. DiSano, MD

Katherine C. DiSano, MD


364 ratings / 115 reviews
Julie A. Dong-Kondas, MD

Julie A. Dong-Kondas, MD


295 ratings / 94 reviews
Christine Jaworsky, MD

Christine Jaworsky, MD


87 ratings / 24 reviews



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