SOURCE: Canadian Dermatology Association

June 08, 2015 07:00 ET

Dermatologists Share Latest Research in Battle Against World's Most Common Cancer

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - June 08, 2015) - The 11,000 delegates attending the World Congress of Dermatology (WCD) this week are sharing research findings on skin cancer, ranging from a new cancer-fighting mobile app, to internet habits that reveal high-risk behaviours of sunbathers, to a better understanding of why pregnant and recently pregnant women have poorer melanoma outcomes.

"Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, and its incidence is on the rise," said Dr. Jerry Shapiro, President of WCD 2015. "The tragic fact about this disease is that it is almost totally preventable by taking simple measures against the sun. Almost every death is a preventable death."

There are more than 60 oral presentations and more than 240 poster presentations on skin cancer at the WCD, which takes place between June 8 and June 13. Each presentation is another piece of the puzzle to finally solving the disease. A number of them deal with the application of information technology to treatment.

A case in point is Dr. John Paoli, of Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, who shared his investigation into a new technology that is helping make skin cancer treatment quicker and more effective. The technology, which comprises a smartphone, a specialized app and an attachable dermoscope (a device for examining lesions), allows for rapid digital referrals of patients. The result: significantly shorter wait times for patients requiring surgery and more reliable triage decisions.

Another innovative use of popular technology came from Drs. Bez Toosi and Sunil Kalia, from the University of British Columbia, here in Vancouver. The two physicians obtained Internet search data from Google Trends. Using a variety of analytical methodologies, they were able to determine Google search volumes for keywords "tanning" and "tanning salons" in Canada, the United States and Australia.

The North American data suggested a peak of interest in March and a trough in September. The results were the opposite for Australia -- peaking in September and bottoming out in March, consistent with the inversion of the seasons. These results will help inform the timing of sun safety educational campaigns in the two parts of the world.

From Italy comes a new software application to improve the diagnosis of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma cure rates can be dramatically improved when the cancerous lesions are identified early. However, diagnoses of early, thin lesions by dermoscope can be challenging, requiring advanced dermoscopic expertise.

Dr. Gabriella Fabbrocini, from the University of Naples, along with a team of physicians from Naples and Salerno, developed software to supplement the diagnostic skills of physicians. The software evaluates digital images of lesions using the same seven-point criteria used by physicians.

By itself, the software is 79 per cent accurate, according to the study, but when used by a dermatologist with moderate dermoscopic skills, it increases accuracy from 80 per cent to 92 per cent, close to the same accuracy rate as dermatologist considered highly expert in dermoscopy. This has significant implications, particularly for parts of the world where medical care is limited and dermoscopic experts may be in short supply.

Dr. Jennifer Ko, of the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio, conducted research that looked into why pregnant women, and women who were recently pregnant, seem more likely to have poorer melanoma outcomes compared with other women from the same age group.

The research suggests that the reason may be alterations the human body makes to its immune response so that it can support an immunologically foreign fetus. Dr. Ko's research is a big step toward improving the outlook for pregnant or recently pregnant patients with melanoma.

About the WCD

The World Congress of Dermatology is the world's oldest and continuous international dermatology meeting. The first WCD was held in 1889 and is presented under the auspices of the International League of Dermatological Societies. The 23RD WCD is the first to be held in Canada. For more information, contact the WCD press office at 778-331-7624 or Follow the WCD on Twitter and Instagram at @Derm2015.

About the ILDS

The International League of Dermatological Societies is a non-governmental organization in official relations with the World Health Organization and was officially established in 1935 during the 9th International Congress of Dermatology and Syphilology held in Budapest. The objectives of the ILDS are to stimulate on a global basis the cooperation of societies of dermatology and societies interested in cutaneous medicine and biology; encourage the worldwide advancement of dermatological education, care, and science; promote personal and professional relations amongst dermatologists from around the world; represent dermatology in international health organizations; and, organize a World Congress of Dermatology every four years. For more information about the ILDS, connect with them on Twitter @ILDSDerm or visit

Image Available:

Contact Information

  • Contact Information
    Jennifer Scott
    WCD2015 Media Relations Director
    Mobile: 1-613-716-2098

    WCD on-site press office (as of June 9, 2015)
    Tel.: 778-331-7624