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    Cutting edge techniques provide options for skin cancer

    New technologies for managing skin cancer were a topic of discussion at a scientific session at the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery’s 2015 annual meeting in Chicago in October. Seaver L. Soon, M.D., division of dermatology and dermatologic surgery at Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, Calif., was one of the moderators for the scientific discussion titled, “The Cutting Edge: New Technologies for Managing Skin Cancer.”

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    Dr. Soon explains that the presentations in this session showed how far the medical community has come in surgical and non-surgical management of skin cancer. “Most exciting are neo-adjuvant treatments for skin cancer,” he says, “such as use of imatinib for dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, and vismodegib for advanced basal cell carcinoma; these treatments give us an option to decrease tumor burden prior to definitive surgery for particularly advanced tumors, although we will learn how best to use them with more experience and longer term follow-up.”

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    He notes novel treatments for keratinocyte carcinoma, including Nd:Yag laser for low-risk basal cell carcinoma, which nets acceptable cure rates and minimal morbidity. He also cites daylight photodynamic therapy (PDT) for actinic keratosis, which demonstrates equivalent efficacy with less patient morbidity compared to traditional PDT. Although surgical management remains the mainstay of skin cancer treatment, Dr. Soon says, “Medical therapies are an exciting addition that will hopefully improve outcomes that are important to patients, such as cosmesis, pain, and healing time.”

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