Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers

A doctor inspecting a patients face for moles.

ABOVE: Susan Tofte is a nurse practitioner with extensive experience in screening and treating skin cancers, including melanoma. BELOW: Dr. Sancy Leachman, a dermatologist and scientist, heads OHSU's Department of Dermatology and the Melanoma Research Program.

Our internationally recognized team of experts provides the most advanced care possible for all stages of melanoma and other skin cancers. You'll find care tailored to your needs and rooted in our groundbreaking research. We offer you:

  • Doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants with decades of combined experience in melanoma screening, diagnosis and treatment.
  • The latest technology to diagnose and treat melanoma and other skin cancers. This includes the ability to treat certain melanomas with Mohs surgery for ideal cosmetic results.
  • Frequent tumor board meetings, where providers combine their expertise for patients with skin cancers.
  • Nation-leading basic research on melanoma, plus clinical trials to test pioneering new treatments.
  • The expertise and technology to monitor skin changes and to spot suspicious lesions early.
  • A clinic to monitor patients at high risk of nonmelamoma skin cancer, such as those who have had a transplant.

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Our expertise

One of OHSU's Knight Cancer Institute Dermatologists.Knight Cancer Institute: Our providers are part of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, one of the nation’s top cancer centers. The Knight Cancer Institute is the only center between Seattle and Sacramento with the National Cancer Institute’s highest designation for research excellence.

Team-based care: Our providers gather three times a month for a meeting called a tumor board. Dermatologists, surgical oncologists (cancer surgeons), medical oncologists (doctors who provide chemotherapy and other medications), radiation oncologists and others discuss patients case by case. This ensures that every treatment option and clinical trial can be considered.

Experience: Our doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants have decades of combined experience in melanoma screening. They have the expertise and advanced technology needed to spot lesions early, when they’re most curable.

Advanced therapies: Our team has expertise in all treatments for melanoma, including immunotherapy for advanced melanoma.

Leading technology

Our center includes some of the most advanced technology available to diagnose and treat melanoma, including:

  • Testing: State-of-the-art tests of your tumor cells at Knight Diagnostic Laboratories. These can identify tumor traits that targeted therapy can disable.
  • Mohs for melanoma: Advanced technology — available at only a few centers in the nation — allows our expert surgeons to use Mohs surgery for some melanomas. That can mean much more effective surgery in removing all of the melanoma tumor while sparing healthy tissue.
  • Imaging: Our high-resolution photography system takes full-body photos to help track skin changes over time.

Research and innovations

Research: We work on leading-edge basic research to develop a better understanding of melanoma and how to treat it. We also offer patients access to clinical trials that are exploring new ways to fight melanoma. Our research has helped us:

  • Learn more about the safety and effectiveness of immunotherapies and vaccines for melanoma.
  • Refine how we test to see if patients are at higher risk of developing melanoma.
  • Explore genetic factors that increase risk for melanoma. This enables us to design and test melanoma-prevention medications, including some that help cells repair DNA damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Cancer registries: We offer patients the opportunity to participate in OHSU cancer registries, including a Melanoma Community Registry and two others for skin cancer. By volunteering to provide information and sometimes tissue or blood samples, participants help researchers see patterns and make other discoveries. Participants also learn about the latest advances.