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Working together to provide optimal melanoma care

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Mark R. Albertini, MD
Oncologist, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine
and Public Health

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Dr. Albertini’s story

The melanoma tumor board at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health brings together physicians and other health care providers from many specialties with a goal of providing the best possible care for patients diagnosed with melanoma—the most serious type of skin cancer.

While the UWHC multidisciplinary melanoma tumor board was a valuable addition to our melanoma program, it was a challenging task to get all of the pieces together for this tumor board. Dr. Gloria Xu, a dermatologist at the university, was the key individual in organizing the needed specialty expertise to launch this melanoma tumor board. As a dermatologist specializing in skin cancer treatment, Dr. Xu was able to identify the necessary support for the melanoma tumor board. Her close interactions and ability to engage different specialties have been key for the tumor board’s success.

The multi-specialty tumor board includes physicians from medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, dermatology, pathology, dermatopathology, ophthalmology, radiology, and others. We meet twice a month and the emphasis is on complex cases for which detailed interactions between specialists and additional review are helpful to enhance patient care. The UWHC melanoma tumor board also provides a great educational opportunity for the physicians involved who can ask questions of each other and seek advice.

Most importantly, patient care benefits from this interdisciplinary coordination, from accurate diagnosis, appropriate timing of surgery, consideration of medical oncology treatment options, to follow-up care. We’ve really been able to help our patients with input from this melanoma tumor board.

The dermatologist's perspective

The melanoma tumor board is really unique because all the specialties can put our heads together. A medical oncologist can ask a surgical oncologist, “Do you really want to operate on it? Can you operate on it?” And then the dermatologist can add expertise. Through these discussions, we’ve been able to maximize care for our patients.

– Gloria Xu, MD, PhD, FAAD
Dermatologist, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
 


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