Melanoma VS The Pandemic: Interactive Round-Table Discussions For Health Care Providers

The pandemic has changed so much in the medical world as cancer centers and hospitals have shifted their operations to treat or prepare to treat COVID-19 patients. As we noted in our article on AIM’s From the Clinic to the Living Room: Conversations with Melissa Wilson, PA-C, MPAS, the NCCN guidelines for melanoma treatment have temporarily changed during the pandemic. Bottom line: Melanoma health care professionals—like all of us—are operating in a different environment now. What are they doing, and how are they doing it? Most importantly, how can they keep their focus on their melanoma patients?

Partnering with Vernon Sondak, M.D., Chair of the Department of Cutaneous Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center and Director of Surgical Education, and Jane Messina, M.D., Senior Member, Departments of Pathology and Cutaneous Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center, AIM at Melanoma has invited physicians from around the world to share ideas and strategies they are employing during the virus. Called Melanoma vs The Pandemic, these interactive Zoom round-tables focus on how medical teams are treating melanoma and other skin cancers and caring for their patients in the time of COVID-19.

On April 10th AIM and Drs. Sondak and Messina hosted the inaugural session on how academic dermatologists are responding to the pandemic—specifically, how they are incorporating virtual visits and how they are implementing the NCCN’s short term treatment recommendations for cutaneous melanoma. Additionally, New York oncologists offered “Reports from the Front Lines.” Hundreds of health care providers tuned in to listen to a panel of physicians who shared their new best practices.

On April 17th the topic was melanoma brain metastases and leptomeningeal disease (LMD) in the COVID era, a discussion of how doctors are treating the most seriously ill melanoma patients despite the virus.

The third session, also in April, was a conversation about adjuvant and neoadjuvant management of melanoma in the face of COVID-19. The discussion focused on how treatments are continuing and the status of clinical trials during the virus.

The topic for May 15th was treating nonmelanoma skin cancers before, during, and after the COVID era.

The next session is scheduled for June 5th, and the discussion will center around the latest and best practices from recent meeting abstracts, especially those that may be practice-changing. The aim is to review emerging data in skin cancers and share caveats from these with the audience. Several of our panelists are presenting or discussing data at the annual ASCO meeting.

Melanoma vs The Pandemic provides a platform and opportunities for our health care professionals to strategize approaches to successfully treat melanoma while grappling with an unprecedented virus. Helping physicians continue to care for their patients despite COVID is a critical way to improve the lives of melanoma patients and their families—part of AIM’s mission.

Please keep me informed.

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