Skin of the Head and Neck Region

What is skin cancer?

The Head and Neck Cancer Program offers testing and treatment for skin cancers affecting the head and neck region, including the face, ears and neck.

These areas may be affected by melanoma and non-melanoma cancers. Melanoma starts in a certain type of skin cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes form a brown pigment called melanin, which gives the skin its color. Melanin also protects the deeper layers of the skin from some of the harmful effects of the sun.

Melanomas can form anywhere on the body. Common sites include the chest, back, legs, neck and face. Melanomas can also form in other parts of your body such as the eyes, mouth, genitals, and anal area, but these are much less common than melanoma of the skin.

More information about melanoma and other skin cancer (National Cancer Institute)


It’s possible that you could have one or more of the following tests:

  • Physical exam checking for abnormal areas
  • Skin biopsy
  • Additional imaging (CT, PET or MRI scan, ultrasound)


Depending on your unique set of conditions, your treatment could include one or more of the following treatments (but not all of these will apply to your condition):

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Your full team of care providers will work closely together to review your diagnostic tests, identify the best course of treatment particular to you, and help you understand your diagnosis and what to expect with any treatment you have.