[5 min read] Photodynamic therapy vs conventional treatments for basal cell carcinoma

Topical photodynamic therapy is an established treatment option for low‐risk basal cell carcinoma (BCC), but how does its efficacy, cosmesis and tolerability compare with alternative treatments? Continue reading “[5 min read] Photodynamic therapy vs conventional treatments for basal cell carcinoma”

[4 min read] What surgery do patients prefer for facial melanoma and what influences their choice?


What method do patients prefer for surgical treatment of facial melanoma, and what causes patients to value the importance of surgery? Continue reading “[4 min read] What surgery do patients prefer for facial melanoma and what influences their choice?”

[Review] Skin Cancer Summit & Masterclasses 2018

25 – 28 July 2018 | Brisbane 

The 10th Skin Cancer Summit & Masterclasses saw international thought leaders in skin cancer medicine converge in Brisbane to collaborate with GPs from across Australia. The 2018 program once again covered a broad range of topics relevant to doctors working in primary care skin cancer medicine. The Masterclasses focused on core day-to-day material, as a way to reinforce and extend knowledge. The two-day Summit opened up new areas of study, enquiry and interest.



Dermoscopy Masterclass: 25 July 2018

The first Masterclass focused on diagnosis through dermoscopy and was run by Prof Ash Marghoob (USA) and Dr Aimilios Lallas (Greece).

Dr Lallas used the concept of false positive and false negative diagnoses to reinforce our diagnostic accuracy. Clearly, as morphology overlaps the distinction between what is a cancer, and what is not, can provide confusion.

This broad concept was beautifully extended by Prof Marghoob through his presentation on difficult to diagnose melanomas. As we all know, the easy ones are easy. It is the hard-to-diagnose that we risk missing!

The session then moved into important body sites – the face and acral areas, which are important because the morphology of lesions on these sites is different from morphology on other sites. If we don’t understand this and know how the appearances differ, then we can’t accurately recognise cancers.

Our presenters then extended these important concepts to difficult to diagnose non-melanoma skin cancers, as it is not just melanomas that can be tricky. And, as always, we finished with a series of interactive cases.


Surgery Masterclass: 26 July 2018

The second Masterclass covered surgery of the ear. The ear, of course, is a common site for skin cancer because it is so exposed to solar damage. Ear surgery is important because cosmetic results are very visible to the patient and others. So, it is essential to get the surgery right, cure the cancer, and repair the defect as sympathetically as possible.

Dr Con Pappas and Dr Tony Azzi provided a comprehensive overview of how to prepare for and conduct surgery of the ear, across almost all imaginable lesions.


Summit: 27-28 July 2018


The Summit program is deliberately designed to be a mix of very practical, everyday material that supports our daily practice.

This year, key examples of these sessions were those on ‘effectiveness of dermoscopy’, ‘why we miss melanoma’, and ‘radiation oncology’. We also ran sessions that we hope will keep you and your patients safe, including ‘what interests the watchdog’ and ‘monitoring tips and traps’.


We deliberately moved into the future and sought to explore and speculate on what might be. It is clear that artificial intelligence is already with us, and yet most of us don’t really see what is happening and what might be coming. As educated and interested professionals, it is worth being aware of these trends.

We also like to keep you across what is happening outside clinical practice, in areas that are relevant to running your business. So, our sessions on how to run a successful business, and how others organise their own practices, are always very popular.


Skin Cancer Institute Gala Dinner

The Skin Cancer Summit closed with a Gala Dinner at the Queensland Cricketers’ Club. Hosted by the Skin Cancer Institute, the inaugural ‘White Out Skin Cancer’ Gala Dinner donated all proceeds to QIMR Berghofer. The delegates’ generosity and support will make a difference to many lives as we take a step closer to our vision of a world where nobody dies from skin cancer.



Updated Practice Guidelines for Melanoma Management

melanoma guidelines

The 2008 evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for the management of melanoma are currently being revised and updated in a staged process by a multidisciplinary working party established by Cancer Council Australia. The guidelines for definitive excision margins for primary melanomas have been revised as part of this process. Continue reading “Updated Practice Guidelines for Melanoma Management”

Biopsy Margin for Total Removal of Dysplastic Nevi

dysplastic nevi

Complete removal of individual dysplastic nevi is often achieved by a second surgical procedure after the initial biopsy. The choice to perform the second procedure is strongly influenced by the histopathologic margins of the initial biopsy specimen.

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology evaluated the clinical and histopathologic outcomes of total biopsy of dysplastic nevi using a pre-determined margin of normal skin. Continue reading “Biopsy Margin for Total Removal of Dysplastic Nevi”

Case discussion: How would you treat this patient? [15 January]

Case discussion Tim Aung

This week we have an engaging case from Dr Tim Aung. A 40-year-old female with concerns about a lesion presented for months. 

Please review and describe the clinical and dermoscopic images. What is your evaluation, and differential diagnosis? What would you do? Continue reading “Case discussion: How would you treat this patient? [15 January]”

Suturing Technique for Best Cosmetic Outcomes


How does suturing technique affect cosmetic outcomes after facial surgery? Recent research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology sought to compare the cosmetic results of simple interrupted sutures versus running subcuticular sutures in facial surgery.

In a controlled trial, adults receiving dermatologic surgery on the face (for conditions such as skin cancer) were randomised to receive either simple interrupted sutures (73 patients) or running subcuticular sutures (69 patients). Continue reading “Suturing Technique for Best Cosmetic Outcomes”

Recommended Minimum Surgical Margin to Remove Skin Cancer

dysplastic nevi

A surgical margin of at least two millimetres around a cancerous skin lesion is the minimum requirement to ensure total removal of cancer cells and to avoid the need for further surgeries, according to a study by researchers at Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health.

The results of a study enlisting 138 skin cancer patients was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, and found that excising a two millimetre margin beyond the edges of a suspicious mole was best practice for complete removal.

Continue reading “Recommended Minimum Surgical Margin to Remove Skin Cancer”

How to Close Wounds on Paper Thin Skin

In this short video, experienced skin cancer doctor Colin Armstrong demonstrates how to use steri-strips for wound closures on thin skin, particularly on elderly patients. Continue reading “How to Close Wounds on Paper Thin Skin”

Skin Cancer Update with A/Prof Giuseppe Argenziano [October]

skin cancer update

In this skin cancer update video, Associate Professor Giuseppe Argenziano discusses the revolutionary results of a study comparing lymph-node dissection with observation in patients with advanced metastatic melanoma. Of patients who had a positive sentinel-node biopsy, the study compared the outcomes of patients who underwent complete lymph-node dissection with the outcomes of patients who were just observed after a positive sentinel-node biopsy and did not undergo a dissection.

Continue reading “Skin Cancer Update with A/Prof Giuseppe Argenziano [October]”