The Malignant Melanoma Program at Wake Forest Baptist Health employs a multidisciplinary approach for the management of patients with all stages of this disease. The goals of the program are centered on unequivocal excellence in all areas of care for patients with malignant melanoma.
John H. Stewart, IV, MD
Wake Forest School of Medicine Associate Professor of Surgery Associate Dean for Clinical Research and Innovation Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, General Surgery Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Malignant Melanoma Program at Wake Forest Baptist Health employs a multidisciplinary approach for the management of patients with all stages of this disease. The goals of the program are centered on unequivocal excellence in all areas of care for patients with malignant melanoma. The interdisciplinary team, led by John H. Stewart, IV, MD, includes radiology, medical and surgical oncology, dermatology, otolaryngology, physical/occupational therapy, and psychosocial support. The multidisciplinary team works to promote unfettered collaboration between all disciplines that manage malignant melanoma while providing innovative, evidence-based care for patients with this disease.
The hallmark of a multidisciplinary approach to melanoma is extensive communication with the patient and family. This approach is facilitated by nurse navigator Robin Petro. The nurse navigator begins to establish a relationship via a phone interview after a patient is referred to our program. During the phone interview, Petro conducts a risk assessment of each patient and family, and works to help integrate the family into the patient’s care and treatment. She also gathers data and information on the patient prior to the first visit so that the visit is customized to the medical and supportive care needs of the patient, including psychosocial support. The clinical nurse navigator allows portability across disciplines. The melanoma navigator’s clinical background provides physicians with a point person to communicate with as well. This model can save time and streamline communication across specialties. “We hear from patients and families that by the time the patient comes for the first visit they feel like we are extended family members,” said Petro. When patients arrive for their initial appointment, most of the services they will need are located in one site on the campus. This alleviates the stress of having to travel to different locations for care.
As an extension of our multidisciplinary collaboration, we promote active translational research aimed at treating advanced disease. The following are some of our ongoing clinical trials.
The Multidisciplinary Melanoma Program at Wake Forest has established a framework that facilitates optimal patient care and participation in clinical trials. We look forward to ushering in a new era of novel targeted therapies for melanoma as well as biological treatments for advanced disease. Furthermore, our team continues to strive to improve the quality of life for our patients and their family members.