SDPA Summer | Melanoma Update – 2017
Dr. Darrell Rigel began his melanoma lecture during the SDPA’s Annual Summer Dermatology Conference discussing the epidemiology of melanoma in the US. Melanoma incidence rates continue to rise all over the world including the US. In addition, the death rate from melanoma continues to increase with one American dying every hour from melanoma.
Non-Caucasians often present with melanoma on the hands, feet and mucosal regions, and often at a later stage than Caucasians. A 2016 study published in JAAD showed pregnant women have a poorer prognosis with melanoma so it is now recommended that women diagnosed with melanoma during pregnancy or within one year after childbirth be followed more closely for recurrence.
Dr. Rigel went on to discuss prognostic indicators for melanoma. The most important prognostic factor of melanoma is still the sentinel node status. Dr. Rigel also touched on topics of sunscreen and prevention of sunburn and adequate margin removal for melanoma.
An important issue that is still not completely understood is that more people die of thin melanoma than thick melanomas. Hopefully, newer genetic testing of melanomas will lead to better prognostic indicators for these thin melanomas.
Dr. Rigel touched on different vaccine approaches to melanoma and new systemic treatments for melanoma that focus on genetic mutations. These new systemic treatments have allowed for improved survival in patients with metastasized melanoma. Finally, Dr. Rigel discussed the future of melanoma and how melanoma will likely be identified not as one condition but as “multiple diseases” due to new genetic markers that have been identified.
Byline: Sarah Patton, PA-C, MSHS
Posted: June 1, 2017