An exciting summer for families affected by a vascular birthmark!
July 21, 2017
What an exciting summer it has been for families affected by a vascular birthmark! In May, many of you participated in our Vascular Birthmarks Month of Awareness, our May 15th Day of Awareness, and our “Put on Your Birthmark” campaign. Families from all over the world shared their photos and experiences … we are so thankful to all of you. The networking that came out of our 2017 Awareness activities sparked the idea for creation of the new “VBF Ambassador Program” that we will be launching in September. Our vision is for an exciting global network of individuals and families affected by a vascular birthmark who are all striving for uniform diagnosis and treatment standards and who are committed to raising awareness and supporting the mission and vision of VBF. Stay tuned for the exciting announcement in the next few weeks.
Earlier this summer The American Academy of Pediatrics published “Vascular Birthmarks in Infants: Importance of Treating the 10%,” an article that I wrote jointly with Dr. Thomas McInerny, AAP past president (2012-13), and Dr. Bernard Cohen, past chair of the AAP Section on Dermatology. Publication of this article by the Academy was the fulfillment of a personal mission that I’ve had for more than 20 years: recognition that babies born with a vascular birthmark need to be referred at the four-week well baby check up. Halleluiah! Another exciting venture with the Academy was my live participation with Dr. Cohen on May 17th during an AAP webinar entitled “Early Diagnosis and Intervention of Vascular Anomalies (Infantile Hemangioma and Malformations).”
On July 6-9, VBF’s newly-appointed Ambassador Scott Cupples, along with yours truly, attended the 13th World Congress of Pediatric Dermatology in Chicago. It was a terrific experience. Scott and I met many pediatric specialists from around the globe, attended several working sessions with other skin-related advocacy groups in order to share our best practices, and participated in lectures addressing the latest innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular birthmarks. Plus, we were blown away by the VBF display booth that was created for us (see photo)!
Our VBF Facebook Live sessions continue to explode with viewer participation. Within 48 hours of our July 19th Live session with myself and Dr. Stuart Nelson our video had over 6,000 views. We also received many messages from families who are so thankful for this service that VBF provides, especially to the parents of newly diagnosed infants who are filled with unanswered questions.
VBF continues to strive to meet the needs of every family affected by a vascular birthmark. Remember, our annual conference isSaturday, October 7, 2017 in California. I hope to see you there.
May is Vascular Birthmarks Awareness Month
May 10, 2017
It’s the best month of the year!
Thanks to the support of former Congressman John Sweeney (R-NY) more than ten years ago, May 15th is recognized as the Vascular Birthmarks Day of Awareness and May has become the Vascular Birthmarks Month of Awareness.
You may be asking, “What’s so important about having a month and a day of awareness?” The answer is “Everything!” The VBF Month and Day of Awareness campaign is about educating as many people as possible about vascular birthmarks. Not just telling them what they are, but also telling them what the treatment options are. It’s about education through social media, our website, and you!
Laser Therapy for Treating Port Wine Stains and Infantile Hemangiomas
March 5, 2017
Our next VBF Facebook Live sessions will focus on using lasers to treat Infantile Hemangiomas and Port Wine Stains. Two of the world's leading experts in this field, Dr. Stuart Nelson and Dr. Roy Geronemus, will be co-hosting the sessions with me to share critical information for families affected by these vascular birthmark types.
On March 5th, Dr. Nelson will explain why he prefers to treat patients early (as young as one month of age) and while under anesthesia. On March 31st, Dr. Geronemus will share his preference for early treatment (as soon as the birthmark appears on a baby, even just after birth) but explain why he prefers not to use anesthesia.
Treating Hemangiomas: When to treat, when not to treat
February 13, 2017
In this month’s post I will address some of the confusion regarding treatment of Infantile Hemangiomas (commonly called “hemangiomas”).
One in ten children are born with a vascular birthmark, most being a hemangioma. Ninety percent (90%) will resolve on their own. The remaining 10% – roughly 40,000 babies each year – who will need the opinion of a specialist are the children that VBF is most concerned about because of the ongoing questions about if and when to pursue treatment.
In 2015, VBF Expert Dr. David Darrow was successful in getting his Guidelines for Treating Infantile Hemangiomas published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Because the lifecycle for integrating a new treatment practice into everyday care can be up to eight years, these guidelines are not yet in widespread practice. As a result, many babies with a hemangioma are still not being accurately diagnosed or appropriately treated.
January 9, 2017
Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon
How soon should my child start treatment for their vascular birthmark? That is one of the most common questions VBF receives. This topic is so important that I hosted the first FACEBOOK LIVE WITH DR. LINDA on January 9th regarding this very topic.
Infantile Hemangiomas and the Port Wine Stains are the two vascular birthmark types that most parents write to us about regarding early intervention.
For the Infantile Hemangioma, it is critical that an accurate diagnosis be made and that treatment begins at or around the four-week well baby checkup. Why? Because this is when the “map” of the hemangioma is usually fully present and it is the best time to try to abort the growth. Most doctors have been trained to “ignore” these lesions and to tell the parents to “leave it alone, it will eventually go away.” However, this philosophy, which is referred to as “benign neglect,” is contrary to the mission and purpose of not only the VBF, but to many of the treatment experts that work with us.
Most parents have an instinct or “still small voice” that tells them something is “not right.”