Melanoma Program

Melanoma Program

Melanoma (Skin Cancer) Experience and Expertise at South Nassau

Though melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer, it’s the most deadly. So South Nassau's Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center is home to experts who specialize in this condition. Early detection and treatment are the major focus of our board-certified and fellowship-trained surgical oncologists. They bring to our patients advanced training and experience in diagnosing, treating and preventing melanoma. They, along with all of South Nassau’s cancer experts, work as a team to create the best treatment plan for each patient.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). Melanoma can also start in the eye, the intestines, or other areas of the body with pigmented tissues.

Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the shape, color, size, or feel of an existing mole. However, melanoma may also appear as a new mole. People should tell their doctor if they notice any changes on the skin. The only way to diagnose melanoma is to remove tissue and check it for cancer cells.

Prevention

Melanoma is one of the fastest-growing types of cancer — and one of the most serious. Accounting for only about 4 percent of all cases of skin cancer, it is the least common. But it’s the most deadly. It causes 79 percent of skin cancer deaths, according to the the American Cancer Society. Race is the primary risk factor for developing melanoma, with fair-skinned races at greater risk than darker-skinned races. In the United States, whites are 20 times more likely to develop melanoma than African-Americans.

Sun Safety Tips:

  • Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF 30 or higher, liberally and frequently. Remember that sunless tanning products do not contain enough sunscreen to be protective.
  • Sunbathers: Exposure to the sun for long periods can increase your risk of developing a skin cancer dramatically, especially during the sun’s peak hours of 10 am – 3 pm.
  • Avoid Tanning Beds and Sun Lamps: There is no safe type of UV radiation. These devices also can impair vision and age the skin prematurely.

Self-Examination:

  • Check/Examine Your Skin: Do you have a funny-looking mole or a history of skin cancer in your family? Melanoma can appear anywhere on the skin’s surface – even on normal-appearing skin.
  • The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone practice a head-to-toe self-examination of their skin once a month to look for any new or changing areas. Most people can follow the ABCDEs of melanoma:
    • A: Asymmetric
    • B: Borders that are irregular
    • C: Color that is unusual or varied
    • D: Diameter more than 6mm, or the size of a pencil eraser
    • E: Evolving or changing moles

People with ethnic skin tones, these rules may not apply. People of color may develop melanoma in different spots, including the eyelids, nails, genitals and in the mouth. Other potential warning signs of skin cancer include: A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.

Our Team

Screening, diagnosis, treatment and surveillance guidelines for melanoma are constantly advancing. So our dedicated team includes surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, experienced nurses and lymphedema specialists. We offer expert review and care of patients with both simple and complicated cases. And we treat all of our patients according to the latest available guidelines from the National Comprehensive Care Network.

Our physicians also bring experience in both cancer-related and cosmetic-related surgeries, regional lymph node staging (with the use of sentinel lymph node sampling and regional lymph node dissections) and palliative care to relieve symptoms of pain, for example, caused by cancer.

 Rajiv V. Datta, MD, FACS, FRCS, FICS

Rajiv V. Datta, MD, FACS, FRCS, FICS
Medical Director, The Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center
Chair, Department of Surgery
Chief, Division of Surgical Oncology and Head & Neck Oncology

Dr. Datta established South Nassau’s Surgical Oncology Program in 2001. He specializes in gastrointestinal, colorectal, pancreatic and hepatobiliary cancers, endocrine and soft tissue malignancies, and melanoma and head and neck cancers using minimally invasive approaches. He trained at Grant Medical College and Tata Memorial Cancer Center in India, with advanced training in plastic surgery and surgical oncology in the UK, prior to a research fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He completed a dual fellowship in surgical oncology and head and neck surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY and then served on the faculty of Maimonides Medical Center and Coney Island Hospital.

Eric D. Seitelman, MD, FACS

Eric D. Seitelman, MD, FACS
Melanoma Surgeon
Surgical Oncologist
Program Director of General Surgery Residency
Dr. Seitelman is board certified in general surgery and fellowship trained in Complex Surgical Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Since 2012 he has been treating patients with melanoma in Long Island and Queens in a multidisciplinary fashion utilizing our tumor board along with local dermatologists, medical oncologists, plastic surgeons, pathologists, nurse navigators and radiologists. Dr. Seitelman also treats patients with other skin and soft tissue malignancies such as squamous cell carcinoma, merkel cell carcinoma and sarcomas.

Contact Us

The Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center
One South Central Avenue, Valley Stream, NY 11580
(516)-632-3350

For more information about South Nassau’s cancer services, please call (516)-632-3350.

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