Skin cancer radiotherapy trials seek to find best treatment for patients

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melanomaCOSA ASM: Australian researchers are conducting multiple clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of radiotherapy for melanoma patients, but more needs to be done to encourage doctors to ask patients to take part, according to a cancer expert who spoke at last week’s COSA Annual Scientific Meeting in Hobart.

Professor Gerald Fogarty, from Genesis CancerCare NSW, presented an overview of studies that are currently underway to the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia’s Annual Scientific Meeting in Hobart. Professor Fogarty said that evidence on the use of radiation in melanoma treatment was desperately needed.

“This level of evidence is lacking in skin cancer in many ways. This is a real pity for Australia because our patients are usually quite keen to get on to trials, particularly radiation trials. It really is our responsibility to provide this evidence for the world as Australia has the highest skin cancer incidence in the world.

“My colleagues and I are conducting randomised controlled trials for melanoma primary sites and also when the cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes and distant sites.

“One example of the trials currently underway is looking at evaluating the effectiveness of whole brain radiotherapy for patients whose melanoma has spread to the brain. Generally speaking, it’s difficult to find Australian doctors willing to suggest the trial to patients and we are now working with patients from Norway and UK in order to get a large enough research sample.

brain_oncology news australia_800x600“This is a controversial area and often clinicians are reluctant to steer away from proven treatment methods – such as brain surgery. However, if proven effective and safe, there is potential for a significant cost saving – up to $13 billion a year in the USA. We need this research so that treatment can evolve, patient outcomes can improve and we can step out of the unknown and know what lines of treatment are better.

“I’m calling on more clinicians to refer their patients on to these trials, so we can better establish the role of radiotherapy in treating skin cancers and provide better outcomes for patients.”
[hr] Source: COSA

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