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Speaker Insights

13 July 2018 - Chris McCormack

Q: Why is the challenge of skin cancer in Australia so significant?

A: Australia has an estimated 14,000 new melanoma diagnoses per year – some 12 times the global average. It is a leading cause of morbidity and cancer death in young adults and is the most expensive cancer, by virtue of the number of people it affects. In NSW, the lifetime cost of the 150,000 incident cases of all types of skin cancer diagnosed in 2010 was estimated at $536 million, of which one third was due to melanoma.

Q: What is the benefit of early detection and management of skin cancers?

A: Early diagnosis of skin cancer improves prognosis and reduces impact on the healthcare system. The cost of early stage melanoma treatment is around $236 with targeted treatment for late stage melanoma costing up to $125,000 per medication per annum per person, with many people receiving two or more medications. 

Q: Why is it important for General Practitioners to contribute to the discussion of skin cancer management and treatment?

A: Skin Cancer rates are rising, diagnostic tools are expanding, and we are experiencing a Golden age in terms of the new advanced therapies. Keeping up with all this new information can be challenge for any practitioner. Delivering appropriate, efficient and cost-effective health care to the community poses one of a significant test for the medical profession. Primary health care professionals provide the key to delivering this care to the community aided by appropriate support from specialty services. It is vital that general practitioners are well versed in the up to date skin cancer management standards, which is why you don’t want to miss the upcoming World Congress on Cancers of the Skin

Q: What are the highlights of the Congress program this year?

A: Since 1983 the Congress has enabled physicians to interact with distinguished international faculty and learn about breakthrough discoveries in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of all types of skin cancer.  The World Congress not only brings together world-renowned expert doctors from the medical community, but provokes local media to spread the message about advances in the management of skin cancer that ultimately affects everyone (or add a stat here like ‘affects 1 in x people) 

Essential topics will be covered such as dermoscopy, non-surgical and surgical skin cancer management, and advanced skin cancer management. Updates on the new medical therapies for advanced melanoma will be a particular highlight for the conference. I am particularly looking forward to the plenary session on the Standard of Care in melanoma to be given by our own internationally recognised local experts Professors Georgina Long and Richard Scolyer. There will also be substantial presentations on rare and interesting conditions such as merkel cell cancer and cutaneous lymphoma. One session will be dedicated to new and novel diagnostic tools including the role of artificial intelligence which is bringing a new dawn in skin cancer diagnosis. Register now at wccs2018.com

The World  Congress on Cancers of the Skin will ignite discussion and bring together the world’s thought leaders on this important issue from the 15 to 18 August 2018 in Sydney. Don’t miss your chance to connect with fellow doctors and be a part of the revolutionary advancement in skin cancer management.

13 July 2018 - Darrel Rigel

Q: Why is it important for Australian physicians to stay equipped with the latest skin cancer expertise?

A:Cancers of the skin represent the most common group of malignancies, and incident rates have continued to rise dramatically over the past several decades. In fact, in some areas of the world, over 20% of the population will develop a skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. This alarmingly high incidence underscores how important it is for physicians to be equipped with the latest expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous malignancy. This point is perhaps particularly salient to Australian physicians, as the highest age-standardized incidence rates of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are seen in Australia. For this reason, it is both exciting and appropriate that the 17th World Congress on Cancers of the Skin® will be held in at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Sydney, Australia, from August 15-18, 2018.

Q: What is the greatest challenge currently facing skin cancer professionals that will be explored
at this year’s Congress?

A: One major theme that will repeatedly be addressed at the Congress is the issue of incorporating new technology into the diagnosis and management of skin cancer. One of the greatest challenges in skin cancer worldwide is ensuring accurate, early diagnosis and expedited treatment. Early surgical treatment of skin cancer, especially melanoma, is of paramount importance in ensuring optimal outcomes. Skin cancer is unique in that it can be seen by the naked eye. Algorithms such as the ABCDEs for melanoma have revolutionized patient care in this space and have spearheaded countless public health initiatives. However, there is still ample room for improvement, as advanced Stage III and IV melanomas still comprise almost 10% of cases. Furthermore, even Stage I and II melanoma, while carrying a relatively low individual risk of mortality, is responsible for the largest absolute number of melanoma deaths (over 70%). This is related to the sheer number of patients diagnosed with early-stage disease, but also suggests an opportunity to better risk-stratify these patients and identify which ones are at higher risk for subsequent recurrence, metastasis, or death.

These challenges provide important opportunities to harness innovation in this area. Specifically, there is an opportunity for healthcare providers and industry to work together to advance our understanding in this space and fill these gaps in order to optimize patient outcomes. For example, recent advances have led to the development of genetic expression profiles both to aid in diagnosis in difficult cases and to help delineate prognosis in patients with early-stage melanoma. New technologies such as electrical impedance spectroscopy can also be used adjunctively to help guide the decision to biopsy in equivocal cases, particularly in cosmetically sensitive areas. Advanced imaging tools such as reflectance confocal microscopy and optical coherence tomography are being used to help identify malignancies sometimes negating the need for biopsy.

Q: What can General Practitioners gain from attending the Congress?

A: This important symposium brings together experts in melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. These leaders, who are on the cutting edge of research and clinical practice, will provide a comprehensive discussion of the latest innovations in the field to an audience of over 1,000 attendees from across the world. Presentations will focus on a wide range of comprehensive topics covering all aspects of skin cancer treatment and diagnosis. The most important new advances will be addressed in a format that will enable attendees to incorporate newly gained knowledge into their clinical practice.

In summary, it is an exciting time to be involved in the treatment of skin cancer. Despite rising incidence rates, our armamentarium is ever-expanding, and we are on the brink of major breakthroughs. Attending the 17th World Congress on Cancers of the Skin® will better equip healthcare providers with the knowledge and experience they need to successfully combat skin cancer on the front lines. Register now at wccs2018.com

20 June 2018 - Dr David Wong

Q: What’s the current leading challenges in coancers of the skin world-wide?
Australia has one of the highest incidences world wide of both non-melanoma skin cancer and malignant melanoma. For us Australian practitioners and researchers, that statistic is a formidable challenge; but it also presents a significant opportunity.

Q: What are the opportunities that the industry need to consider to advance their understanding & skills in this space?
In August this year, Sydney has the wonderful opportunity of hosting the 17th World Congress on Cancers of the Skin. With an impressive line-up of keynote speakers such as Professor Georgina Long – Co-Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) – and world-leading cancer prevention expert Professor Craig Sinclair, the Congress will reveal cutting-edge research coming out of Australia. Our nation punches above its weight when it comes to skin cancer research, and we are excited to share with you some of the latest findings. To build on this, the organising committee has arranged for dedicated sessions for primary care physicians to update both their clinical and surgical skills.

Q: What hot topics, revolutionary therapies & new technologies will be revealed at the Congress this year?
The Congress will cover topics ranging from primary prevention of skin cancer – including areas of controversy regarding sunscreens, Vitamin D, oral nicotinamide supplementation – to the less common malignancies of the skin including Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous lymphoma. There will also be discussion on all the modalities of therapy for skin malignancies – surgical, topical, radiotherapy and immunotherapy which has revolutionised the management of metastatic melanoma. New technologies in the detection and diagnosis of skin malignancies will be presented. Research presentations will aim to understand the field of immunooncology – an area of rapid changes with which we all need to familiarise ourselves with.

Join Dr. David Wong at WCCS18 along with the impressive list of Keynote speakers including:

  • Professor Georgina Long – Co-Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA), and Chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology and Translational Research at MIA and Royal North Shore Hospital, The University of Sydney. She leads an extensive clinical trials team and laboratory at MIA, with a focus on targeted therapies and immuno-oncology in melanoma.
  • Professor H.Peter Soyer – an academic dermatologist from Austria, is a world leader in the field of dermatology with particular expertise in the areas of dermatooncology and dermatologic imaging.
  • Professor Richard Scolyer – one of the world’s leading histopathologists on melanocytic pathology. He is Co-Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia.
  • Dr Henry W. Lim –immediate past president of the American Academy of Dermatology, his area of expertise is photodermatology, photoimmunology, photomedicine and sunscreens.
  • Professor Craig Sinclair – one of Australia’s leading experts on skin cancer prevention. Mr Sinclair is the Director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Collaborative Centre for UV Radiation and has particular expertise in skin cancer, vitamin D and sun protection.
  • Professor Diona Damian – Professor of Dermatology at the University of Sydney, Clinical Academic at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Associate of the Melanoma Institute Australia. Her research focuses on the role of skin immunity in the mechanisms, prevention and treatment of skin cancer.
  • Professor Stephen Mulligan – senior staff specialist haematologist at Royal North Shore with a specific interest in chronic lymphatic leukaemia and its effects on non-melanoma skin cancer.

This world-class Congress on cancers of the skin, taking place at the International Convention Centre Sydney on 15-18 August 2018, has grown over the years to become the most influential interdisciplinary meeting offering clinicians, pathologists and research scientists the opportunity to connect, discover and evolve together.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to attend a meeting of this quality in your own backyard. 

Q: Need help with your travel and accommodation?
Let our Expert Congress Managers, along with their strategic Airline Partner Qantas, provide you with a seamless booking and travel experience. (use UTM links here to track traffic coming from this article and ensure the Qantas reference is in line with their copy guidelines.

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Speakers in the Spotlight

20 July 2018 - Speaker Spotlight with Alexander Meves

Q: What are you talking about at WCCS 2018?
A: My research focuses on melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer, and identifying those patients at risk for developing metastatic disease. Patients with high risk melanoma need more aggressive therapy, which may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation as well as regular follow-up. However, most melanoma does not spread to other areas of the body and not all melanoma needs aggressive treatment. Using currently available diagnostic tools, it is difficult to distinguish between lethal melanoma that needs treating, and nonlethal melanoma that does not. Overcalling melanoma leads to unnecessary treatment and avoidable side effects. For example, 80 percent of melanoma patients who undergo sentinel lymph node surgery based on current diagnostic criteria do not have metastasis. While a negative sentinel node biopsy carries prognostic information, it is unlikely to provide a therapeutic benefit.

 In my talk I will discuss a lab developed molecular method designed to help physicians distinguish between lethal and non-lethal melanoma. Specifically, I will explain the biological rationale behind this method, how this method was discovered and validated and how we plan to translate this method into patient care.

Q: From your perspective with regards to your topic/field, what would is the latest research/technique or challenge?
A: We are undoubtedly living in a golden age of melanoma research. New genomics and proteomics approaches allow for the discovery of biomarkers that have the potential to guide patient care. However, it is still challenging to bring research discoveries to the bedside. The devil is often in the detail. Research methods need to be robust and well documented, scientists need to work in teams to share their know-how, funding needs to be available to sustain research programs. Often, it is a few fearless individuals taking chances that drive a project forward.

Q: Which other speaker or topic from the Congress Program are you interested in and or will attend?
A: I am always interested in new technologies so I will listen to Olivia Charlton talk on sonography and Michael Bonning talk on elastic scattering spectroscopy and machine learning.

Q: What’s the craziest item on your bucket list?
A: I have recently been sitting a lot (too much) in my office, so right now I would love to take 6 months off and just hike through the Australian outback or charter a yacht and sail through the Caribbean. Unlikely to become reality any time soon!  

13 July 2018 - Speaker Spotlight with Elizabeth King

Q: What are you talking about at WCCS 2018?
A: I am talking about the key themes from the NSW component of Cancer Council’s National Sun Protection Survey, drawing on 5 waves of data from 2003-2016. I’ll include specific reference to sun protection attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and behaviours, with a focus on exploring gender differences, in light of NSW trends in melanoma incidence and mortality. In NSW men over 40 are two and half times more likely to die from melanoma than women of the same age.  Understanding trends in sun exposure attitudes and behaviours will form an important basis to broadening our strategic approach towards successfully engaging men in both our primary prevention and early
detection messages.

Q: From your perspective with regards to your topic/field, what would is the latest research/technique or challenge?
A: In my opinion, the greatest challenge facing the future of skin cancer in Australia is addressing the dissonance between the strength of evidence supporting the cost-effectiveness of primary prevention and the lack of committed and coordinated leadership in this area.

Q: Which other speaker or topic from the Congress Program are you interested in and or will attend?
A: The program looks fascinating. I am really interested in being updated on the effectiveness of new approaches to targeted therapies and tailored treatment options for people living with melanoma.

Q: What’s the craziest item on your bucket list?  
A: I love everything about Spain – the culture, language, food and fashion.  I would love to blend my lifelong ambition to walk the Camino with my interest in song and music, and see the countryside by day and enjoy food, culture and music by night.

6 June 2018 - Speaker Spotlight with Dr Alex Chamberlain

Q: What are you talking about at WCCS 2018?
A: Dermoscopy of squamous cell carcinoma

Q: From your perspective with regards to your topic/field, what would is the latest research/technique or challenge?
A: Advances in systemic therapy of metastatic skin cancer

Q: Which other speaker or topic from the Congress Program are you interested in and or will attend?
A: Professor Georgina Long

Q: What’s the craziest item on your bucket list?  
A: To visit either Wimbledon and/or the FIFA World Cup 

Q: What’s your best insider tip for Sydney?
A: Botanic gardens walk for the stunning views and beautiful gardens, the ferry to Manly for the sea breeze and Cafe Sydney for great Australian food and wine!

As President of The Skin Cancer Foundation, I sincerely urge health professionals across Australia and around the world to attend the 17th “World Congress on Cancers of the Skin,” to be held in Sydney from August 15 to 18, 2018, at the newly revamped International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Foundation’s interdisciplinary Congress, sponsored jointly with key organizations from a different host country every other year, brings together more than 1000 attendees from around the world. Since 1983, it has enabled health professionals across many disciplines to interact with international faculty and learn about breakthrough discoveries in prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

With new imaging technologies, new genetic and molecular capabilities for increasingly personalized risk prediction, diagnosis and prognosis, and a continually increasing array of therapies for both early and advanced skin cancers, this year’s program offers more than 150 essential presentations.  An exceptional lineup of distinguished international experts will explore the most urgent issues and most advanced knowledge, technologies and techniques in this rapidly evolving field today.

General practitioners, for whom primary prevention and early detection of skin cancer are so important, will find sessions on state-of-the art sun protection strategies and algorithms for stratifying their patients’ skin cancer risks. They will also want to learn the all-important new guidelines for when and how to use sentinel node biopsy, and what recently approved adjuvant therapies should come into play for patients with high-risk early melanomas.

For dermatologists, an intensive series of sessions on both basic and advanced dermoscopy shouldn’t be missed, covering everything from state-of-the-art dermoscopic algorithms to the technique’s use in conjunction with confocal microscopy and optical coherence tomography to optimize diagnostic acumen and reduce biopsies. With the advent of increasingly effective but often toxic checkpoint blockade immunotherapies for advanced melanomas, Merkel cell carcinomas and advanced SCCs, they’ll value the presentations on managing complications and immune-related adverse events.  

Painless photodynamic therapy for AKs and a new topical hedgehog inhibitor treatment for advanced basal cell nevus syndrome will both be highlights for nurses, plastic surgeons and others. In light of recent landmark findings calling complete lymph node dissection into question, they will also appreciate the sessions on sonography, automated three-dimensional skin imaging and remote assessment, and electric scattering spectroscopy as key monitoring tools for skin cancer and nonsentinel lymph node metastases.

These are just a few of the dozens of sessions offered for every specialty. Australian physicians should not miss this rare visit to their shores by so many of the world’s greatest experts on skin cancer, bringing with them the most important new developments and strategies for the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. Come join your friends and colleagues from around the world for this very special event.

WCCS 2018 activity has been approved by the RACGP QI&CPD Program in the 2017-2019 triennium 30 Category 2 CPD points (Activity Identification Number: 140084).

Deborah Sarnoff, MD, President, The Skin Cancer Foundation, Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, NYU School of Medicine, and Director, Dermatologic Surgery, Cosmetique Dermatology, Laser & Plastic Surgery

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