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You might think about ignoring that new, funny-looking mole on your arm. Everyone gets them, right?

That’s true. But not all moles or spots are normal. Especially if you see a weird new one or notice changes to an old one. Chances are it could be nothing, but it’s a good idea to get things checked out. Some skin changes might be skin cancer like melanoma. And while a melanoma diagnosis can feel pretty scary, there’s good news — it can be highly treatable when caught early.

Cleveland Clinic’s skin cancer experts know what it takes to diagnose and treat melanomas at all stages. Our experienced team is here to ease your fears and get you started with personalized treatment. We’ll guide you through every step of your skin cancer treatment journey.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Melanoma Care?

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Comprehensive treatment:

We treat most melanomas with surgery, sparing as much healthy skin as possible. We also do reconstruction after removing large or complex melanomas if necessary. If you need more treatment, we work with our oncology team or reconstructive surgery providers.

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Convenient care:

We can sometimes treat early-stage melanomas (cancers that haven’t spread) in a single visit. There’s often no need to have multiple appointments. Your care team will go over treatment options with you.

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Innovation and research:

Cleveland Clinic leads and takes part in clinical trials of new medications and treatments for melanoma. We also maintain an active melanoma registry to study melanomas that seem to run in families (inherited melanoma).

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We’re recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

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Virtual visits:

We know treatment can be hard. That’s why we offer virtual visits for some appointments. If you have an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet or computer, you can meet with your provider online from the comfort of home.

Diagnosing Melanoma at Cleveland Clinic

Melanoma is the most invasive and dangerous skin cancer. It grows quickly and can spread to any organ. But when caught early and treated by experts, the results can be good.

What to expect at your first visit

When you come to your first appointment, you’ll want to be prepared to share your story and answer questions about your symptoms and medical history. We’ll also want to know if skin cancer runs in your family. This important information helps our team confirm a diagnosis.

While you’re there, your provider will also check out the concerning mole or growth using a powerful magnifying lens.

Testing for melanoma

Our team uses diagnostic testing and surgical biopsy to confirm melanoma and see how advanced the cancer is or determine its stage.

A skin biopsy lets us get a sample from the mole or growth to test it. We may also remove some early-stage melanomas during a biopsy. For melanomas that may have spread to other areas (metastasized), we may recommend a sentinel node biopsy.

You may also have imaging tests like a CT scan (computed tomography scan), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or PET scan (positron emission tomography scan). These help our team see how large the cancer is and if it’s spread.

Second Opinions for Melanoma

Learning you might have melanoma can leave you wondering about what’s next. But one thing is for sure — you want providers you can trust. That’s why we encourage second opinions.

Cancer doesn’t wait, so we always try to schedule your second opinion appointment as soon as possible.

Our providers take the time to help you better understand what’s going on and walk you through treatment options.

A second opinion can give you peace of mind and help you take control of treatment, and your future.

Meet Our Melanoma Team

If you choose Cleveland Clinic, you’ll have a team of experienced providers from different specialties. They work together to confirm your diagnosis and create a care plan that focuses on you and your needs. Your team may include:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.

Treating Melanoma at Cleveland Clinic

We build your personalized treatment plan around what we learn from your test results and your melanoma’s size and stage.

Treating early-stage melanomas

If you have early-stage melanoma, you have a growth (lesion) only in the top layer of skin. We typically treat these melanomas with surgery. It may be the only treatment you need.

Your surgeon will remove cancerous tissue and a small area of healthy skin so we can check it out under a microscope. If cancer cells are still there, we may remove a larger skin section around the tumor. For skin cancers on your face, feet, genitals and hands, our experts may recommend a delicate procedure called Mohs surgery.

Treating advanced melanomas

Sometimes, melanomas spread beyond your skin to lymph nodes or other organs. Depending on your melanoma’s stage and location, your care team may recommend:

  • Surgery: This is the most common treatment for melanoma that’s spread to your lymph nodes. We remove any affected nodes (lymphadenectomy) and melanoma deposits on other organs (metastasectomy).
  • Radiation therapy: Specialists use beams of concentrated energy (radiation therapy) to destroy melanoma cells.
  • Systemic therapy: Our oncology experts use drugs that work throughout your body to get rid of cancer. We use immunotherapy and drugs that destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy cells (targeted therapy). If you’re at high risk for the melanoma returning, your care team may also recommend these therapies after your primary treatment to help prevent the melanoma from coming back (adjuvant therapy). Only rarely will you have chemotherapy to treat advanced melanoma.

Reconstruction after melanoma surgery

During surgery, we may need to remove a large section of skin (wide excision) to make sure all cancerous tissue is gone. Reconstructive surgery can help us fix any damage caused by cancer treatment.

Life After Melanoma Treatment

You’ll keep seeing our team regularly after melanoma treatment. We want to make sure the cancer hasn’t come back (recurred) or spread. We’ll also talk with you about ways to prevent future skin cancer, like:

  • Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Avoiding the sun and hanging out in the shade instead.
  • Using artificial tanning lotions and sprays instead of a tanning bed.
  • Wearing brimmed hats and sunglasses.
  • Keeping bare skin covered with sleeves and long pants.

Taking the Next Step

It can be tempting to ignore those spots on your skin because, well, you’ve heard bad things about skin cancer. But even though melanoma can be serious, it’s also treatable when you catch it early and act quickly. We’re here to help make that happen. Our experienced care team will guide you through every step of your skin cancer diagnosis, treatment, recovery and follow-up. You don’t need to wonder about what’ll happen next. We’ve got you covered.

Getting an appointment with one of our melanoma experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with one of our melanoma experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

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Woman with a shaved head due to chemotherapy treatment is hopeful following remission.


Learning you have cancer can be stressful, shocking and challenging. From the moment you get the news, you're a survivor. As you face the challenges that go along with cancer treatment and recovery — physical and emotional — we’ll be right there with you.

At Cleveland Clinic, survivorship care is one part of your journey. We offer a wide range of services, resources, clinics and support groups to help with any physical, emotional, financial and spiritual needs you might have related to your cancer diagnosis. Lending a helping hand along the way, we want you to not only survive, but thrive on this journey and beyond.

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