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Rush Archives Blog

From the Rush Archives: Commemorating Skin Cancer Awareness Month

by Nathalie Wheaton on 2020-05-26T08:00:00-05:00 in History | Comments

1985: Rush’s New Pigmented Lesion Center Gives Vital Early Diagnosis

This May, we observe Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Skin cancer is America’s most common cancer. It is also the most preventable cancer, so awareness of methods of prevention and warning signs are especially important for all Americans.

Learn more about skin cancer here: https://www.rush.edu/services/conditions/skin-cancer

In 1985, Rush opened the Pigmented Lesion Center, designed to provide early diagnosis of melanoma. The key to the center was its interdisciplinary approach, using a team of physicians in five specialties, dermatology, oncology, plastic surgery, general surgery, and pathology to monitor and evaluate skin irregularities that might precede or indicate melanoma.

At the time, Rush dermatologist Roger Pearson, MD, noted, “…[T]he surgeon may see something I don’t, or see it in a different way. Our combined expertise is likely to be greater than the sum of its parts.”

The Pigmented Lesion Center was one of the first of its kind in the Midwest and in the country, and also provided valuable data for skin cancer research.

You can learn more about the development of the Pigmented Lesion Center in the February 1985 issue of Rush’s newsletter, NewsRounds*:

https://archive.org/details/newsrounds19851985rush/page/n17/mode/2up

Click on the image to visit this NewsRounds article from 1985:

Caption: Janet Wolter, MD, oncology, examines a patient for suspicious moles at the Pigmented Lesion Center.

Although Dr. Wolter was well-known for her expertise in breast cancer, her long career gave her experience with a variety of cancers. Dr. Wolter led the development of the Pigmented Lesion Center, and she served as its medical director until her retirement in 2009.

Dr. Wolter passed away earlier this year. To learn more about her fascinating life and illustrious career, visit this Rush InPerson blog post from February 2020: https://rushinperson.rush.edu/2020/02/06/janet-wolter-md-1926-2020/

Today, many of the offerings of the Pigmented Lesion Center are offered by Rush’s Melanoma Surveillance Clinic

https://www.rush.edu/services/melanoma-surveillance-clinic

Want to learn more about the history of Rush or the Rush Archives collections? Explore the Rush Archives website, or contact the archivist, Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS.

*From NewsRounds, February 1985, from the NewsRounds Collection, #4719, Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill.


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