Duke dermatologists perform comprehensive skin screenings to detect skin cancer -- including basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma -- and use the most effective methods to treat skin cancer promptly. Our advanced training and seamless coordination with experts throughout Duke ensure you receive the best possible treatment, whether your skin cancer is contained to a small area or has advanced and requires specialized care. We do everything possible to cure your skin cancer and help you maintain cancer-free skin.
Melanoma and Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers
Knowing which type of cancer cell causes your skin cancer is important. Basal and squamous cancer cells, often referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers, are the most common form of skin cancer and usually result from too much sun exposure. While they need to be removed completely, they are treated differently than the more aggressive melanoma.
Our dermatologists detect and remove all skin cancers and work closely with cancer specialists when melanoma is diagnosed. Our goals are to provide the best care possible for your skin cancer and to achieve the best results.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Our dermatologists use the latest technologies to identify pre-cancerous moles and detect all types of skin cancer. Screening and diagnostic tests include:
Skin cancers are typically first identified during a physical exam, and the site may be examined more closely using a high-powered microscope called a dermatoscope.
Total Body Photography
If you have several moles on your body, or a family history of skin cancer, our dermatologists may use mole-mapping technology to take sequential photographs of your body from multiple angles. The photographs allow your dermatologist to track changes in your skin and evaluate your skin cancer risk over time.
If skin cancer is suspected, a sample of tissue will be removed and examined for the presence of cancer. The type of biopsy you undergo will be determined by how deep into your skin your physician believes the basal or squamous cells have penetrated. A shave biopsy takes less skin, while a punch biopsy removes a deeper portion of skin.
Where you receive your cancer care is important. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our cancer program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2020–2021.
Experienced Skin Cancer Care
Expertise in Advanced Skin Cancers
While it’s rare for basal cell and squamous cell cancers to spread, it can happen. In addition, these cancers often grow locally and can damage structures on the face, including the nose and ears. Treating them effectively is crucial to ensuring the best possible outcome. We choose the best medical or surgical treatments for early and advanced skin cancers, to ensure you receive the most effective care for your condition.
A Team Approach to Care
In addition to dermatologists, your team may include medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists; otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat doctors); dermatopathologists (specialists who look at skin diseases at a cellular level); plastic surgeons; ophthalmologists; and radiologists, when their expertise is needed to develop the most effective treatment plan for you.
Expertise in Head and Neck Skin Cancer
Our experienced ear, nose, and throat surgeons are specially trained in removing skin cancers that involve the head and neck. Their expertise in working exclusively on the head and neck increases the likelihood that you will have positive outcomes for these complicated procedures.
Support for You and Your Family
Our comprehensive support services help you minimize the side effects of cancer treatment and help you and your family cope with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.