Stage 3 Melanoma Treatment Approved

melanoma treatment

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Novartis’ Tafinlar-Mekinist combination for use as a stage 3 melanoma treatment, just four months after the drug was approved for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer with a BRAF V600E mutation.

The BRAF/MEK combination can now be used to treat this particular mutation after studies found that the drug halved patients’ risk of death or melanoma recurrence compared to placebo, in a phase 3 study completed in September. Continue reading “Stage 3 Melanoma Treatment Approved”

Lack of Canberra Dermatologists Forces Melanoma Patients To Travel Interstate


Canberra residents with serious skin problems, including people with melanoma, are being forced to travel to New South Wales to see dermatologists due to a shortage of specialists and lengthy waiting times in the nation’s capital.

The Australasian College of Dermatologists reports that GPs in Canberra are not referring their patients to local dermatologists because patients could be waiting up to six months for specialist treatment.

There are six dermatologists working in the Australian Capital Territory – half the number necessary to support the region’s population, the College reports. Continue reading “Lack of Canberra Dermatologists Forces Melanoma Patients To Travel Interstate”

Recommended Minimum Surgical Margin to Remove Skin Cancer

Merkel cell carcinoma

A surgical margin of at least two millimetres around a cancerous skin lesion is the minimum requirement to ensure total removal of cancer cells and to avoid the need for further surgeries, according to a study by researchers at Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health.

The results of a study enlisting 138 skin cancer patients was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, and found that excising a two millimetre margin beyond the edges of a suspicious mole was best practice for complete removal.

Continue reading “Recommended Minimum Surgical Margin to Remove Skin Cancer”

Case discussion: How would you treat this patient? [16 October]

Case discussion Slavko

This week we have an interesting case from Dr Slavko Doslo. A 40-year-old female presented for a skin check and a lesion was noticed on her back.

What is your assessment of the clinical and dermoscopic images? What would you do – if anything? Continue reading “Case discussion: How would you treat this patient? [16 October]”

Accuracy of Pathology Diagnosis of Melanoma

Merkel cell carcinoma

Our paper this month comes from Elmore et al, published in the BMJ. The authors set out to determine the accuracy and reproducibility of pathology diagnosis of melanocytic skin lesions. The study was done across the USA and included 240 skin biopsies, and almost 200 pathologists viewed the slides twice, eight months apart.

Continue reading “Accuracy of Pathology Diagnosis of Melanoma”

Skin Cancer Update with A/Prof Giuseppe Argenziano [October]

skin cancer update

In this skin cancer update video, Associate Professor Giuseppe Argenziano discusses the revolutionary results of a study comparing lymph-node dissection with observation in patients with advanced metastatic melanoma. Of patients who had a positive sentinel-node biopsy, the study compared the outcomes of patients who underwent complete lymph-node dissection with the outcomes of patients who were just observed after a positive sentinel-node biopsy and did not undergo a dissection.

Continue reading “Skin Cancer Update with A/Prof Giuseppe Argenziano [October]”

Melanoma Tattoos Help Doctors Develop Empathy in Cancer Diagnosis

cancer diagnosis

It is imperative to be empathetic when giving a patient their cancer diagnosis and throughout treatment. A collaborative study produced by the University of Huddersfield, Queen’s University Belfast and University College Dublin has enabled medical students to experience some of the challenges faced by people living with skin cancer to help them develop greater empathy for their patients.

Published in the British Journal of Dermatology, the study explores how temporary skin tattoos might influence a medical student’s personal understanding of a malignant melanoma diagnosis.

Continue reading “Melanoma Tattoos Help Doctors Develop Empathy in Cancer Diagnosis”

Case discussion: How would you treat this patient? [02 October]

Case discussion_Slavko

This week we have another great case from Dr Slavko Doslo. An older female presented for a skin check and there was an obvious standout lesion on her face.

We have the clinical and dermoscopy picture below. What do you think about the lesion? What are the next steps you would take to treat this patient?  Continue reading “Case discussion: How would you treat this patient? [02 October]”

Link Between Red Hair and Increased Skin Cancer Risk

cancer risk

Researchers may have discovered the link between red hair and cancer risk, shedding light on why redheads are more prone to developing melanoma. The research could offer a new way of protecting people from the disease.

People with red hair have unique variants of a protein called Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R), which plays an important role in pigmentation. The way in which MC1R works is affected by a process called palmitoylation. Continue reading “Link Between Red Hair and Increased Skin Cancer Risk”

Physicians Opting for High-Cost Skin Cancer Treatments

melanoma treatment

Skin cancer doctors and dermatologists may be tempted to over-treat patients with minor skin cancers in order to make a financial profit for performing higher-cost procedures, according to a symposium focusing on controversies in dermatology.

A presentation entitled “Inconvenient Truths in Skin Cancer Care” was delivered at the 26th European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress by Dr Tamar Nijsten from Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands. The presentation highlighted concerns that dermatologists and skin physicians and might perform unnecessary treatments on minor skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, or prescribe high-cost drugs offering no advantage over generic-brand counterparts, because these approaches financially benefit the physicians.

Continue reading “Physicians Opting for High-Cost Skin Cancer Treatments”