IACAN’s Outreach Event on Melanoma

Dr. Jagannadha Sastry introducing Dr. Hussein Tawbi

Dr. Jagannadha Sastry introducing Dr. Hussein Tawbi

HOUSTON: On Sunday, June 24, the Indian American Cancer Network (IACAN) held an informative outreach event on melanoma at the Arya Samaj, Houston. Drs. Kelly Nelson and Hussein Tawbi, Associate Professors of Dermatology and Melanoma Medical Oncology, respectively, at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, presented information on melanoma.

Dr. Nelson provided an overview of skin cancer, with detailed information on melanoma identification and prevention. Specific educational highlights of Dr. Nelson’s lecture included review of acral melanoma (melanoma that occurs on the hands, feet, or nail units) that typically appears as a dark spot larger than a pencil eraser on the palms or soles, or a band of pigmentation extending the length of the nail itself. While some normal pigmentation of the nail plate may occur, typically several nails are involved.  With melanoma, the band of pigmentation is darker than the other bands, may involve more than half of the nail plate, and may enlarge over time. Melanoma prevention focuses on protecting the skin from UV exposure, and being aware of one’s skin.

Dr. Kelly Nelson addressing the audience

Dr. Kelly Nelson addressing the audience

Dr. Tawbi provided a review of the recent dramatic advances in treatments for patients with metastatic melanoma, with in-depth discussions of immunotherapy (taking the breaks off the body’s immune system to enhance recognition of melanoma tumors) and targeted therapeutics (exploiting specific genetic mistakes, or mutations, in the patient’s melanoma, by using medications that target the specific mutation) which have revolutionized the care of patients over the past several years.

Drs. Tawbi and Nelson are both co-leaders with the MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Melanoma Moonshot, which provides institutional support to build collaborative multi-disciplinary research teams addressing complex challenges within a specific cancer type.  Dr. Nelson provides education to dermatologists across the state of Texas to support recognition of melanoma at its earliest stages, and Dr. Tawbi’s background in drug development supports the creation of new therapies for patients with metastatic melanoma, with specific emphasis on patients with melanoma that has spread to the brain.

IACAN is planning on conducting their Biennial Gala on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at Red Oak Ballroom. The keynote address will be provided by Dr. Patrick Hwu, Head of the Division of Cancer Medicine, who will also speak on immunotherapy.

Tickets for the event can be purchase at www.iacannetwork.org

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