The Skin Cancer and Melanoma Center is one of very few such centers in the region, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous malignancies. Our Cancer Center is a winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer, a program of the American College of Surgeons.

Surgical Associates and the multidisciplinary clinical team at Virginia Hospital Center provide you with a personalized, comprehensive and expert treatment for all the stages of melanoma and other skin cancers. Led by Surgical Oncologist, Dr. Hatem Halabi, our surgeons are board certified surgeons with years of experience in melanoma and other skin cancer surgery. They are committed to providing the highest quality of care and most comprehensive therapy for patients diagnosed with all types of skin cancers.

About Melanoma

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that starts in the pigment producing skin cells. Melanoma can develop anywhere on the skin. If not detected at an early stage, melanoma can spread (metastasize) through the blood or lymph system to other organs.

A personal or familial history of melanoma will increase your risk of having a melanoma. In addition, people that had excessive sun exposure, blistering sun burn, tanning bed use and fair skin are at increased risk for melanoma.

Melanoma often appears as a mole and tends to be larger than a pencil eraser, uneven in color, asymmetrical, and ragged around the border. Melanoma may remain only in the skin or it may spread through the blood or lymph system to other organs and bones. Any change in a mole should be assessed by your physician.


Suspicious lesions need a biopsy (small piece of the lesion is removed in the office) and examined under the microscope to establish the diagnosis and plan additional treatment.

The treatment plan for melanoma depends on various factors, including the location of the melanoma, the depth of the melanoma and tumor spread.

Surgical Excision is the most effective available treatment for melanoma. This involves removing the melanoma along with a margin of normal skin around it. If the melanoma is deeper than 0.75 mm, our surgeon may recommend a sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy is a minimally invasive approach used to determine if the tumor has spread to lymph nodes. The sentinel lymph node is the first spot to be involved with cancer cells when cancer spreads. Sentinel lymph node biopsy entails injection of a radio-labeled material around the tumor and surgically biopsying the node. If the sentinel node is free of cancer cells then other lymph nodes in that region are also free of cancer cells and the patient is spared a more radical and morbid unnecessary surgery.

If the melanoma had spread to the regional lymph nodes or other organs, radiation therapy, systemic chemotherapy or more recently immunotherapy and targeted therapy are used in combination with surgery.

You can email our Center directly at our dedicated email or call our main number 703.717.4250 for any questions or to request an appointment with our specialist.

Our Brochure

More info on Melanoma Surgery:

Melanoma Treatment: A Patient Video Guide from Penn Medicine

Part 1: Early Stage Melanoma

Part 2: Additional Treatment After Surgery

Part 3: Treatment Options for Metastatic Melanoma

Part 4: Survivors Reflect on the Journey


Physician's Spotlight

Monthly Newsletter

Vol. 5, Issue 11 | November

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Office Information

Surgical Associates
at Virginia Hospital Center

1625 N. George Mason Dr., Ste 334
Arlington, VA 22205
Tel: 703.717.4250
Fax: 703.717.4251

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