World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2018

World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2018

17 August 2018

The World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2018 has featured many minds from MIA sharing their expertise and wealth of knowledge with over 1000 attendees from around the world. Coming together at the ICC in Sydney, it has been an insightful and educational Congress relating to skin cancer and melanoma.

A key feature evident throughout all presentations was the changing landscape relating to melanoma, and how far diagnosis, treatment and education have come. The exponential shift in melanoma survival rates over the last decade is reflective of the global melanoma research effort, however there remains much work still to be done.

Associate Professor Matt Carlino chaired the morning session, Local and Systemic Management of Advanced Melanoma, which included presentations on radiotherapy from Professor Angela Hong, and surgery from Associate Professor Robyn Saw and Professor John Thompson AO. Professor Thompson identified that while surgery has a changing place in melanoma treatment, it still cures 85% of Stage I & II disease. Surgery is not considered the preferred option for advanced melanoma patients, with immunotherapy and targeted therapy proving to be more effective.

Associate Professor Matt Carlino explained the issues surrounding targeted therapy and immunotherapy, and highlighted toxicity as one of the primary concerns of the treatments. The Congress was told, however, that these treatments are changing people’s lives and represent a huge step forward in increasing survival rates in advanced patients.

A key focus of the Congress was a session on Primary Prevention of Skin Cancer, where Dr Annika Smith and Associate Professor Anne Cust argued the importance of sunscreen and dispelled sunscreen myths citing accurate studies such as the ‘Primary Melanoma Project’, ‘The Vancouver Trial’, ‘The Nambour Trial’, as well randomised control trials. A key point emphasised was that use of sunscreen does not cause Vitamin D deficiencies. Delegates were advised that people should not deliberately expose themselves to the sun as incidental exposure is sufficient for Vitamin D levels. Sunscreen quantity and application were also highlighted as crucial.

Clinical Professor of Dermatology Darrell Rigel travelled from New York University Langone Medical Center to discuss US studies relating to sunscreen and melanoma prevention.

“The problem surrounding sunscreen application is simply that people aren’t using enough,” he said. Professor Rigel suggests that lack of cosmetic appeal is a major reason why people are avoiding sunscreen. “The best public health message is use a combination of protection; sunscreen and shade,” he said.

The afternoon session of Management of High Risk Early Stage Melanoma was chaired by Dr Alex Menzies and featured an entire MIA cohort with presentations from Professor Richard Scolyer, Professor Andrew Spillane, Dr Alexander Menzies and Professor Georgina Long.

Topics covered included staging guidelines, sentinel node biopsy, and adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapies. Professor Long emphasised the exciting time in the neoadjuvant therapy space with evidence suggesting drug therapy works better when a patient has an active tumour, rather than after the tumour has been surgically removed.

The WCCS has been an overwhelming success, with many brilliant minds banding together with the overall goal of better understanding skin cancer and melanoma, and ultimately better patient outcomes.

If you're a health professional and interested in taking your melanoma knowledge to the next level, check out our Melanoma Education Portal here.

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