Patients with advanced skin cancers or rare, aggressive tumors often need several different forms of treatment provided by multiple specialists.
In addition to surgical removal of the cancer, these patients may require chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Specialized imaging and biopsy procedures to check nearby lymph nodes may also be necessary.
Team of Skin Cancer Specialists
The Skin Cancer Center works with a team of specialist physicians throughout the Clinical Cancer Center to provide comprehensive care for patients with advanced cancers. These specialists include:
- dermatopathologists, physicians who focus on studying and diagnosing skin conditions at a microscopic, cellular level.
- facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons, who specialize in surgical repair of skin cancer wounds on the face and elsewhere on the skin
- hematologist/oncologists, who specialize in treating cancer with chemotherapy drugs
- oculoplastic surgeons, who specialize in tumor removal and surgical reconstruction of the eye socket, eyelids, tear ducts, and other areas of the eye.
- radiation oncologists, who specialize in treating cancer with radiation therapy (high-energy X-rays)
- surgical oncologists, who specialize in biopsies and surgical removal of cancer and surrounding tissue, including the lymph nodes as necessary
- transplant dermatologists, who specialize in skin care of solid organ transplant recipients
- Staged excision (also known as “slow Mohs”) for treating extensive cases of malignant melanoma.
- Surgery under general anesthesia — In some cases, patients may be more comfortable if extensive Mohs surgery is performed while the patient is under anesthesia. In these cases, the procedure will be performed at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin within the hospital, rather than at the Clinical Cancer Center, using the Skin Cancer Center staff and laboratory. Learn more about Mohs surgery.
- Chemotherapy — If skin cancer has spread to areas inside the body, taking cancer-fighting chemotherapy drugs by mouth, injection or though an IV may be necessary.
- Radiation therapy — Another technique for cancers that have spread from the skin to internal parts of the body is using repeated radiation exposure to gradually destroy cancer cells. Because the Skin Cancer Center is part of the Clinical Cancer Center at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, radiation oncologists use sophisticated radiation therapy techniques and technology to treat even the most difficult cancers.
- Chemoradiation — a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be needed for certain patients to obtain an optimal outcome.
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery — Surgical repair of skin cancer wounds aims to restore full function and reduce scarring, even in the most complicated cases
- Oculoplastic surgery — Tumor removal and surgical reconstruction of areas surrounding the eye, especially of the eyelids.
- Specialized imaging and biopsy procedures — As part of eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center, the Skin Cancer Center offers all of the latest diagnostic tests and procedures.
Clinical Trials Offer Patients the Latest Treatments
Skin Cancer Center physicians are actively involved in research aimed at improving treatment and outcomes for people with skin cancer. They participate actively in many large clinical trials of new treatment techniques and cancer drugs. Our commitment to research means patients have access to the most advanced therapies available.