International Keloid Symposium organisers eye Jamaica

International Keloid Symposium organisers eye Jamaica

Observer writer

Monday, May 27, 2019

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ORGANISERS of the fourth International Keloid Symposium, which is expected to attract more than 100 medical professionals, have decided to host their annual event in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Scheduled for April 9-12, 2020 at Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, the decision was taken after local dermatologist Dr Patricia Yap attended and presented her ground-breaking research at the symposium in China earlier this year.

Yap, who has been helping Jamaicans treat and manage various skin conditions for more than 25 years, has formulated a cream that can be applied directly to the skin to reduce the appearance of keloids — a condition that causes an overgrowth of scar tissue to appear on the skin in response to injury — which was previously only thought to be treated with procedures such as surgery and painful injections.

“Why it is so ground-breaking is because there is no topical keloid treatment in the world. Isn’t that exciting?” a delighted Yap beamed, as she spoke with the Jamaica Observer from her office at Apex Healthcare Associates off Molynes Road in St Andrew, recently.

While some Jamaicans suffer from keloid disorder, commonly referred to as or ‘keloid skin’, many do not know what they are or that they can be treated, Yap said.

“This is how I tell my patients: Someone dug up the road, and you have a pothole (a cut), so you call the works agency and tell them to fix the pothole. They come with the marl and they fill it, but that’s it. They don’t roll it out. So you end up with these lumps on top of your skin. Then they keep coming back to fill it each time you call them, so you need to tell them to stop trying to fix it,” Yap explained.

“It’s really healing gone wrong,” she continued. “We need to tell the body to stop healing.”

While keloids affect all races, the dermatologist said it is most prevalent in people of African descent, such as in the Caribbean, where between six and 16 per cent of people are estimated to have keloids. Yap claimed that this is one reason for research on the condition not being very advanced.

“People of African descent get it. So do the Chinese, Indians and South East Asians. The white folks get it, too, but they don’t get it as bad. Keloids are what we call an orphan disease, because they don’t have this problem as much, and they won’t make a lot of money from the treatment, so they’re not going to put research on it,” she explained.

The first International Keloid Symposium, held in New York, United States, was put on by the American-based Keloid Research Foundation, which was founded by Dr Michael Tirgan who felt the need to have more data-driven and evidence-based guidelines for keloid management.

Dr Guyan Arscott, a Jamaican consultant cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon, attended the first symposium and encouraged Yap to attend the 2017 event in Rome, but she had other duties to attend to at home.

“When the third one came up in China, last year, I had already patented my keloid cream and some pharmaceutical companies were already interested in it,” she said. She was invited to speak and share her clinical experience in managing the condition.

Yap spoke, along with four other doctors, on non-surgical management of keloid lesions at the symposium in Beijing, China last month. Her presentation was entitled “Rethinking the medical management of keloids: Reflections and experiences from a busy urban clinical practice in Kingston, Jamaica”.

“So we went and we talked, and they were all crowding me!” an animated Dr Yap said. “I told them to speak with my sister, Felice Campbell, because she manages the business aspects.”

Because of Dr Yap’s new approach to treating keloids, it was decided that the fourth symposium would be held in Jamaica, where she and Campbell will open the symposium and welcome medical professionals devoted to advancing research on and treatment of the condition.

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