Newly Diagnosed?

We understand that a cancer diagnosis can be a life-altering event with many questions about treatment and quality of life. At Virginia Mason, our Melanoma Program is one of the leading programs for malignant melanoma in Washington state. Patients come from all over the Puget Sound region and beyond to receive care from our team of board-certified physicians, nurses and caregivers with special interests in the diagnosis, treatment and research of malignant melanoma.

Patients initially talk with our frontline cancer coordinator who helps manage appointments and answer questions about melanoma treatment and accessing the medical center, in general. To make an appointment or request more information, contact the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery department at (206) 223-6831.

Find more information about cancer care at Virginia Mason.

Malignant Melanoma Care at Virginia Mason

Virginia Mason's Melanoma Cancer Program is one of the leading programs for malignant melanoma in the Puget Sound region. Patients receive care from an interdisciplinary group of specialists that includes plastic surgeons, dermatologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, nurses, nutritionists, dietitians, physical therapists, social workers, genetic specialists and others, all working together to determine the best approach to treatment. View frequently asked questions about malignant melanoma.

Some of our best practices for patients include:

  • Excellence in melanoma care — Our Melanoma Program provides patients with comprehensive care at every stage of the disease. Nationally, the number of new malignant melanoma cases is increasing, but the good news is that most patients have early-stage cancer and with the kind of treatment found at Virginia Mason, their changes for recovery are excellent. 
     
  • High-volume melanoma cancer center — Virginia Mason performs above-average rates of malignant melanoma surgery and is considered a high-volume hospital for this reason. Several studies have shown improved survival for patients undergoing surgery in hospitals that perform a high volume of cancer surgeries.
     
  • Multidisciplinary tumor board — Our specialists hold regular "tumor board" meetings where individual cases are discussed and a comprehensive treatment plan is decided upon.
     
  • Leading cancer clinical trial site — Our medical center provides patients with opportunities to participate in many different cancer clinical trials. Patients also benefit from our partnership with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, a world-class research institution that is looking at the causes and cures of autoimmune diseases, including cancer, and is making those discoveries available to patients through translational ("bench to bedside") medicine.
     
  • Tracking outcomes — Virginia Mason tracks outcomes (treatment results) on a regular basis to ensure that the treatments our patients receive are beneficial.
     
  • Publications in leading medical journals and presentations — Our specialists publish articles in leading medical journals and are invited speakers at cancer conferences throughout the year.

   [Back to Top]

What You Need to Know About Cancer Care at Virginia Mason

The Floyd & Delores Jones Cancer Institute at Virginia Mason offers comprehensive care for many different types of cancer. Our nationally accredited cancer program means we have several important benchmarks in place for patients including:

Leadership in cancer care
Virginia Mason has one of the oldest cancer programs in Washington state. Our Cancer Registry, for example, which tracks cancer diagnoses and treatment at our medical center, was instituted in 1940. It wasn't until 1956 that the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, in an effort to improve quality of care, required a hospital-based cancer registry for all approved cancer programs in the United States. Currently there are more than 40,000 confidential records in Virginia Mason's Cancer Registry database and more than 8,000 cases under active follow-up.

Board certified physicians
Since Virginia Mason's founding in 1920, nearly 100 percent of physicians on staff have been board certified in their fields, which is the highest certification and recognition physicians receive in their specialties. It is the primary reason why so many patients are referred to Virginia Mason for their care.

Nationally accredited cancer institute
Virginia Mason consistently receives national accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). Recently Virginia Mason earned commendations in four areas:

  • Prevention and early detection
  • Cancer related improvements
  • Quality of data submission
  • Outcomes analysis

Being designated a CoC cancer program also means that patients are provided with comprehensive care close to home from a multidisciplinary team that offers a range of services, equipment, education and support. Patients also receive lifelong follow-up, ongoing monitoring and improvement of care, and information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options.

Currently, there are about 1,400 CoC-approved cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico, representing close to 25 percent of all hospitals. These accredited programs treat 82 percent of newly diagnosed patients with cancer.

Clinical trials
Our medical center provides patients with opportunities to participate in many different cancer clinical trials. Patients also benefit from our partnership with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, a world-class research institution that is looking at the causes and cures of leading diseases, including cancer, and is making those discoveries available to patients through translational ("bench to bedside") medicine.

   [Back to Top]

Ongoing Wellness and Support

As a result of advances in cancer screening, early detection and more innovative and successful cancer therapies, people with cancer are living longer and better lives. For more information about cancer wellness and support at Virginia Mason, or to make an appointment, call (206) 223-6831.