Advances in the Treatment of Melanoma

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Topics include: Treatment

The incidence of melanoma, a malignant form of skin cancer, is rising faster than any other cancer. In this episode of Patient Power brought to you by The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, you’ll learn about new advances in treatment with Dr. Patrick Hwu. Dr. Hwu is a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology at M. D. Anderson.

In this informative program, Dr. Hwu helps us to understand what exactly melanoma is and how it’s detected. Dr. Hwu lists the risk factors associated with this type of cancer along with ways to prevent melanoma, including the importance of sunscreen and avoiding the sun during peak times. If caught early, melanoma is quite curable – surgery is often the most effective treatment for early stages. Dr. Hwu goes into detail discussing biopsies, deciding on a treatment plan and the possibility of effective vaccines in the future.

The multidisciplinary approach to melanoma treatment, like at M. D. Anderson, is most beneficial to patients seeking care for melanoma. The collaboration of dermatologists, radiation oncologists and the commitment from many other team members helps to provide patients with the highest quality of care. If you are looking for information on melanoma treatment or simply want to learn about cancer prevention, this program is sure to provide you with plenty of insight.

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Andrew Schorr:

Hello and thank you for joining us once again. I'm Andrew Schorr broadcasting live in this webcast. Every two weeks we connect you with a leading M. D. Anderson expert, sometimes more than one, often inspiring patients and help you learn in depth about the latest in the treatment of a given cancer or situations that affect all of us as cancer patients, cancer survivors or family members.

You know, one of the cancers where the incidence is rising faster than any other is melanoma. 51,000 new cases of melanoma will occur, be diagnosed this year. M. D. Anderson, of course, has a whole multidisciplinary team that deals with it. We're going to learn a lot more about it because it's obviously concerning. Melanoma you know starts as a skin cancer typically. It's a malignant form of skin cancer, and these melanocytes, as we'll learn more about, these cells, they produce pigments that give skin its color, but melanoma usually appears as an irregular, brown, black or red spot, maybe a mole begins to change in color, size or shape. And while it's only three percent of all the skin cancers it has the highest death rate of all types and is more likely to metastasize and spread in the body. And then it varies where it shows up for men or for women or whether you're fair skinned or not. We're going to learn all about that.

I'd now like you to meet our guest tonight. He's a true expert in the treatment of melanoma, and that's Dr. Patrick Hwu. Dr. Hwu is chairman of the department of melanoma medical oncology at M. D. Anderson, and as I mentioned there's a whole multidisciplinary team that comes into play when we talk about melanoma. There are surgeons, there are radiologists of course, there are radiation oncologists, and there are medical oncologists.

Dr. Hwu, welcome to Patient Power. First of all, do we have any clue why this cancer is rising faster than any other?

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Page last updated on December 18, 2013