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My experience in the 1st Dermatopathology Course in El Bierzo, Ponferrada, Spain, July 19-20, 2012

Dr. Mona Abdel-Halim


My experience in the 1st Dermatopathology Course
in El Bierzo, Ponferrada, Spain, July 19-20, 2012

Mona R.E. Abdel Halim
MD Dermatology, Diploma of Dermatopathology (ICDP-UEMS)

Since establishing my career as a dermatopathologist I found it of utmost importance to keep improving my diagnostic skills. In addition to regular practice and reading, attending specialized courses held by eminent dermatopathologists is a vital skill developing experience. It allows you to share others’ experiences, learn how they think and approach their cases and also learn from their mistakes. Moreover, it gives you a great chance to see wider range of cases which expands your range of knowledge beyond the lesions commonly encountered in your region of the world.

This summer, I was lucky to be able to attend the first dermatopathology course in El Bierzo, Ponferrada, Spain. The course was organized by Dr. A. Fernandez-Flores from Hospital El Bierzo, Ponferrada, Spain. A group of eminent speakers were there and I learned a lot from the lectures and the cases presented.

Dr. S. Edward from UK gave us a nice presentation about the various cutaneous manifestations of radiation therapy with emphasis on post irradiation morphea, post irradiation panniculitis and atypical vascular proliferation following radiotherapy. The presentation of Dr. E. Calonje from UK was a masterpiece. He talked about tumors with clear cells. I loved the way he categorized them into epithelial, melanocytic and mesenchymal groups. The cases presented were great. I was happy to see a PECOMA, a tumor that I have always read about but have never seen. The motley role of viruses in skin diseases was the topic presented by Dr. M.T. Fernandez-Figueras from Spain and she really presented lovely cases. Dr. A. Fernandez-Flores from Spain presented two wonderful presentations about his great scientific work in two important fields of dermatopathology. The first is related to marginal zone lymphoma and the work up carried to differentiate between class switched and non switched cases. The other work addressed how to differentiate between metastatic apocrine carcinoma of the breast and cutaneous apocrine carcinoma. Clinical and histopathological characteristics of child hood melanoma were addressed in the presentation of Dr S. Paradela from Spain. I really enjoyed the very interesting lecture of Dr. Luis Requena from Spain about unusual morphologic variants of melanoma. He showed us images of 18 melanoma variants. Wao!!! I felt really lucky. Dr. W. Weyers from Germany delivered a criticizing presentation about the staging of melanoma and the AJCC classification including historical perspective. It was interesting.

The cases presented in the course represented a really wide range. Microscopes were available and we had a great opportunity to examine the slides. I enjoyed the cases especially epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, reactive angioendotheliomatosis, Kimura’s disease, cutaneous Hodgkin’s disease, melanoma with rhabdomyosarcomatous differentiation, hemosiderotic fibrohistiocytic lipomatous lesion, plexiform fibrohistiocytic tumor, malignant epithelioid shwannoma, cutaneous metastases of chordoma, primary cutaneous apocrine crebriform carcinoma, signet ring cell carcinoma of the eyelid, syringocystadenocarcinoma with sarcomatous change (carcinosarcoma) and an interesting case of measles!!

Not only the scientific program was nice, a social program was also organized including visits to famous areas in the region. I loved chatting with and getting to know dermatopathologists from all over the world. It was a great experience.


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Dr. Phillip McKee


You obviously had a lot of fun. I fully agreee with you. Attending meetings and courses on dermatopathology is a critical component in self-education and the only way to advance your knowledge and keep up-to-date. The other very useful option is to take a leave-of-absence and spend a month or so as a visiting fellow with a dermatopathology expert. Sometimes these are free- if you just join in with the rest of the staff. If you want one-on-one teaching it can be expensive when taking into account fees, air travel and accomodation. It can however be a very worthwhile exercise.
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Dr. Mona Abdel-Halim


Definitely this is one of my plans... And a one to one teaching with you Sir is my dream...
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