T.W. Lewis Melanoma Center of Excellence Bringing Unparalleled Skin Cancer Expertise to Arizona


T.W. Lewis Melanoma Center of Excellence
In its first 10 months of operation,
the T.W. Lewis Melanoma Center
of Excellence has achieved much.

Since opening last November at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, the T.W. Lewis Melanoma Center of Excellence is well on its way to becoming the leading center for Melanoma diagnosis, treatment, and research in the Southwest. Support from donors and a matching gift from the T.W. Lewis Foundation generated $3.5 million to make the Center a reality, and far ahead of schedule.

By the end of its first full year of operation, the Center will have treated some 450 Melanoma patients, with patient volume projected to increase year over year. Incidents of Melanoma have increased rapidly over the past 30 years, particularly among young adults. With 90 percent of Melanoma cases related to sun exposure, Arizona has the highest Melanoma death rate in the country.

One of the first priorities in establishing the T.W. Lewis Melanoma Center of Excellence was identifying expert leadership. Dr. Mark Gimbel was appointed Medical Director and Dr. Fade Mahmoud was appointed Medical Oncologist this year. Both physicians are leading experts in Melanoma who bring great passion to their work. Dr. Gimbel has trained with some of the foremost experts in Melanoma, including Drs. Vern Sondak, Jonathan Zager, and Jeffrey Weber, and has made Melanoma treatment the primary focus of his medical career. Dr. Mahmoud chose Melanoma Oncology as his career focus because of the incredible promise of clinical trials, which are revolutionizing the treatment and management of metastatic Melanoma.

Since the Center's opening last year, six new Melanoma clinical trials have begun, with four currently open. Clinical trials give patients access to the most promising treatments not yet available to the public, and help advance medical discoveries to benefit future patients. Click here for a full list of clinical trials underway at Banner MD Anderson.

The Center’s Community Outreach team has held more than 90 events with a total of 20,000 attendees, providing education on sun safety, skin cancer prevention, and the importance of screening. The outreach program will soon be bolstered with a dedicated vehicle wrapped with T.W. Lewis Melanoma Center of Excellence logo branding and a shade canopy for public events.

To ensure that referring physicians are aware of the expertise available at the Center—the only one of its kind in the Southwest—the Center’s physicians are visiting community dermatologists and primary care physicians throughout the Valley and providing tours of Banner MD Anderson. Patients and providers can access information online at www.bannerhealth.com/banner-md-anderson/melanoma.

While we are so proud of these achievements, there is more left to do. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 1,800 new cases of Melanoma in Arizona this year. There is no better place than Arizona, and no better time than now, to continue waging war on this disease.

Continued support for the incredible work being done in this Center serves to further elevate the program, providing funds for the latest equipment and for expanded community outreach and clinical trials.