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Skin cancer is when skin tissue grows abnormally. There are several different types of skin cancer:

  • Melanoma - Cancer in the skin cells that make pigment.
  • Basal cell carcinoma - Cancer in the outer layer of the skin.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma - Cancer in the flat cells that make up the surface of the skin.
  • Neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin - Cancer in the cells that release hormones in response to signals from the nervous system.

Skin Cancer: What You Need to Know

Prevention

Not all skin cancer can be prevented. However, it is a good practice to:

  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater to reduce the chance of getting a sunburn when outdoors. Reapply at least every two hours. People who have had five or more sunburns double their risk for developing melanoma.
  • Avoid artificial sunlight such as sunlamps and tanning beds which expose you to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Get all moles checked out by your doctor.

Teamwork

Skin cancer is managed in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach by a group of specialists that include a surgical oncologist, a medical oncologist, a dermatologist and a pathologist. Patients may meet with one, several or all of these specialists, depending on their situation.

Nurses and support staff provide an extra measure of knowledge, training and compassion. Psychologists work closely with patients and their families to help them cope with the diagnosis, treatment, and aftermath. At The University of Vermont Medical Center, our skin cancer team and other support staff work together as a team, providing expert care.

Personalized Care

Your care will be led by knowledgeable and supportive patient navigators, guiding you through every aspect of your care, from initial visit to post-operative care and follow-up.

Experienced, Trusted Expertise

Your care is based upon the latest knowledge and most advanced medical information. Many of our physicians also serve as professors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and participate in research programs to help advance the treatment of melanoma, and educate the next generation of providers.

What is Skin Cancer?

Anyone can get skin cancer. However certain people are more likely to get it. Risk factors include:

  • Light skin, hair and eyes
  • A record of sunburns
  • Too much exposure to the sun
  • Living in a sunny or high-altitude climate
  • Moles
  • Rough scaly skin patches known as precancerous skin lesions
  • Family history
  • Having had skin cancer before
  • A weakened immune system from surgery or disease
  • A history of radiation exposure
  • Arsenic exposure

Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

The Melanoma Multidisciplinary Clinic at The UVM Medical Center and the Vermont Cancer Center provides you with access to some of the world's premier specialists in the screening, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma.

The UVM Medical Center's physicians are highly trained in treating skin cancer; we treat approximately 170 cases of melanoma each year and consistently meet or exceed national standards of care.

Learn more about skin cancer diagnosis and skiin cancer treatment.

Call 877-540-HOPE (4673) for more information or find a doctor in the Doctors & Specialist tab at the top of this page.