Sekwon Jang, MD, is board certified in medical oncology, hematology and internal medicine. He serves as Inova’s director of Melanoma and Cutaneous Oncology Therapeutics and Research at the Inova Schar Cancer Institute. He has a special interest in melanoma and other skin cancers. Read Dr. Jang’s profile.
On May 21, we held the first-ever Melanoma Patient Symposium. The event was co-sponsored by the Inova Schar Cancer Institute, the Inova Health Foundation and Life With Cancer, a patient support program that serves patients throughout the Inova Health System.
Our goal for the symposium was to educate patients and their families. My co-presenters and I talked about genetic and environmental risk factors, information about the relationship between moles and melanoma and the state of our current therapies for the disease. We also answered patients’ questions about the importance of a healthy diet and what their family members need to know about their melanoma risk.
Another purpose of the symposium was to bring together patients who are being treated for melanoma, both at Inova and elsewhere in the community. This was a great opportunity for patients to connect with and learn from others who are going through a similar experience.
A Team-Based Approach for Exceptional Care
The event was a wonderful chance for our medical team to interact with patients outside of a clinical setting. Patients had many chances to ask questions about everything from healthy diet and sunscreen recommendations to the science behind new immunotherapy treatments.
The symposium brought together expert speakers from a variety of specialties. That was no accident. In fact, it’s reflective of our team-based approach to caring for patients with melanoma. As the region’s only multi-specialty melanoma and oncology program, the Inova Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center brings together treatment teams of dermatologists, surgeons, oncologists, genetic counselors and nurse practitioners. That means better, more coordinated care for patients.
Stories of Hope and Courage
More than 60 patients attended the symposium to learn about melanoma risk factors, treatment options, survivor care and the latest in melanoma research. Their comments after the event highlighted its success:
“Each speaker brought an integral part to this seminar, and each was informative in his/her respective area…and each brought hope to the forefront. Their stories give people both hope & courage.”
“I am so impressed with Inova…I found that the oncology staff in all areas offers so much of themselves to their patients.”
“Everything was fabulous. Being able to speak with the doctors and professionals was extremely helpful and encouraging. Meeting other survivors and caregivers was inspirational.”