What to Expect

Doctor Wright and patient
Patients with melanoma can expect a treatment that is centered around their specific case with expertise expanded or contracted based on what the patient needs. These is no cookie-cutter approach to cancer.

At your first visit, most patients will meet with a surgeon to discuss treatment options. The first step is to complete your staging, which is often done with surgery. Based on your stage, treatment options are based on the review of your case and pathology by the specialists on our Skin Cancer Tumor Board.

Your treatment may also include follow-up testing with one of our genetic counselors.

We know that these first visits can be overwhelming, and there may be questions that pop up afterwards. Please reach out to us either by phone or via the Spectrum Health app. Your nurse navigator may also be a helpful resource to contact if there are further questions about your treatment plan.

  • Our Skin Cancer Tumor Board brings specialists together to meet, review cases, and provide recommendations for treatment and surveillance. The process involves reviewing your pathology slides from biopsies and/or surgery with our Dermatopathologist. Any imaging tests that have been completed are reviewed with our Radiologists. All members of the treatment team are present and provide input for the best course of treatment or surveillance if treatment has been completed. We also review your information to decide if genetic testing may be of benefit and refer to our genetic counselors if indicated. Finally, we will also help to coordinate referral to one of our area Dermatologists for regular skin screenings if you are not already established. At the conclusion of the session, a summary letter is sent to you, your Primary Care Physician, and Dermatologist (if applicable).
  • The most significant risk factor for developing melanoma is UV-exposure, however, there are some hereditary conditions that could predispose you to melanoma. Genetic counseling may be beneficial if you fit one of the following scenarios:
    • Having three separate areas of melanoma
    • Having a family history of pancreatic cancer
  • If you meet one or more of these criteria, a referral will be placed to our Genetic Counseling team. Once the referral is placed, you will receive paperwork in the mail that needs to be completed and sent back in to the Genetic Counseling office. You will then set up an appointment for consultation with one of our Genetic Counselors. After reviewing your personal and family history, the Genetic Counselor will provide recommendations and options for undergoing genetic testing.

Team-based Approach to Care

Here at Spectrum Health, we take a team-based approach to care. From diagnosis to a treatment plan, we bring a team together to take care of you. Your cancer journey is not just about your clinical care, because cancer affects many aspects our your well being. Our services include mental health support through our social workers, nutritional and wellness support through out Culinary Medicine program and help planning for the financial aspects of care.

We assign each patient a nurse navigator, who works on behalf of you to help coordinate appointments, insurance authorizations, additional services and any further testing needs.