January 19, 2010
A little over 20 years ago, Dr. Hubert T. Greenway Jr. and Dr. Terry L. Barrett sat down in a hospital cafeteria and began to outline plans on a napkin for an annual conference to provide dermatologists, and other interested physicians and health care providers, with an update on the latest advances in the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma.
This past weekend in San Diego, the duo marked the 20th anniversary of the annual cutaneous malignancy update.
"As the course grew in popularity, and word got out about the content of the course, we were able to invite more faculty from across the country and get specific experts in their fields to bring us up to date on the new developments in melanoma," Dr. Barrett, professor of pathology and dermatology at the University of Texas, Southwestern School of Medicine in Dallas, recalled in an interview. "The course has evolved as the knowledge base has evolved."
Dr. Greenway, who chairs the division of Mohs and cutaneous surgery at Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, Calif., said that one important development over the 20-year life of the course has been sentinel node biopsy, which is used primarily as a diagnostic tool. "That has been a tremendous advance," said Dr. Greenway, who was fellowship trained by Dr. Frederic E. Mohs. "It’s brought forth the concept that melanoma requires a team [treatment approach]."
Even though the incidence of melanoma is likely to continue to rise over the next few years, Dr. Barrett noted that clinicians "have a much better understanding, statistics, and data on which to base prognosis and guide treatment."
As for the future, researchers studying the human genome and how it relates to the development of melanoma are "on the beginning of understanding," said Dr. Barrett, who is also director of ProPath Dermatopathology in Dallas. "In the next decade, I think we’re going to see an explosion of knowledge as it relates to molecular pathology and genetic understanding of the disease."
Source: Skin & Allergy News LINK.
For more information, please visit www.propath.com.