Highlighting prevention, early detection, the latest research and treatment of the deadliest form of skin cancer, Walter Reed Bethesda’s John P. Murtha Cancer Center of Excellence hosted the annual Melanoma Awareness Day seminar and skin cancer screenings May 4 during National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

Army Col. (Dr.) Craig D. Shriver, director of the Murtha Cancer Center, explained cancer “is and should be,” a concern for the military. He explained guidance from the Pentagon to the Murtha Cancer Center calls for “prevention, screening and detection” of cancer.

“Once a service member is diagnosed, determining treatment with minimal side effects while maximizing the treatment effect, and rehabilitating the service member,” are also focuses of the cancer center, Shriver said.

He explained a cancer diagnosis impacts readiness, taking the service member “out of the fight for months if not a year or more,” for treatment and rehabilitation.

“A cancer diagnosis in an active duty service member is in many ways akin to a trauma diagnosis,” added Shriver, also a general surgeon who’s treated injured warriors from blasts and gunshot wounds. “A cancer diagnosis is no less devastating to readiness,” he added.

Dr. Janis Taube, a pathologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, discussed opportunities for future development of immune markers for staging and prognosis of cancer, and Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Jessica Naff shared a personal story of how melanoma has impacted her family.

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