Penn Dermatology

Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Group

For more than 40 years, Penn Dermatology's Pigmented Lesion Group has led the nation in diagnosing and treating malignant melanoma.

Risk Factors for Melanoma

Melanoma is a serious and potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer that is treatable and often curable if diagnosed in the early stages. Melanoma can affect anyone, but certain individuals are at greater risk for getting this form of skin cancer. Risk factors for melanoma include:

  • Excessive exposure to the sun or tanning booths or tanning beds
  • Fair skin
  • Family members with a history of melanoma, such as parent, child or sibling
  • Freckles
  • Red or blonde hair
  • Birth moles
  • Prior diagnoses of malignant melanoma
  • Unusual or many moles

Multidisciplinary Approach to Diagnosing and Treating Melanoma

Penn Dermatology's Pigmented Lesion Group, in conjunction with Penn physicians at the Abramson Cancer Center, was the first dermatology program in the country to offer a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing, treating and preventing melanoma. Patients undergoing treatment for melanoma at Penn have the added advantage of working with a team of Penn specialists in dermatology, medical and surgical oncology, plastic surgery, pathology and dermatopathology. The program also offers whole body photography to document and track skin changes.

Nearly all patients in the clinic are referred by Penn dermatologists or outside referring dermatologists and physicians in the Philadelphia region.

Whole Body Photography

Whole body photography documents the skin through a series of photographs taken every five to seven years. A medical photographer at Penn Dermatology conducts baseline studies of all patients seen in the Pigmented Lesion Group to document and establish mole patterns and changes over time.

Whole body photography is also available to patients who do not have a melanoma diagnosis, but want full body photography for skin cancer preventive measures.