Best practice guidelines for melanoma care go digital

Best practice guidelines for melanoma care go digital

28 October 2016

Health professionals treating melanoma patients have access to the first in a series of new, wiki-based clinical recommendations with the launch of electronic clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of melanoma.

The release of the renewed resource, in Sydney at the Australasian Melanoma Conference, marks the first time a melanoma management guideline has been published in a wiki format for continual electronic update.

The first in a comprehensive series of updated melanoma guidelines, it provides evidence-based recommendations on the recognition of melanomas, biopsy of suspicious lesions, when to perform sentinel node biopsy and margins for radical excision of primary melanomas.

The guidelines are being developed in partnership by Cancer Council Australia and Melanoma Institute Australia, with additional funding from the Skin Cancer College Australasia.

Chair of the project’s expert working group, Professor John Thompson AO, said the guidelines were the result of an exhaustive systematic review and public consultation process and were being launched at a time of rapid change in the management of melanoma.

“Things are moving quickly in melanoma management,” Professor Thompson said. “A comprehensive systematic review of the evidence was timely.

“The publication of updated guidelines on Cancer Council Australia’s wiki platform means they can now be continually reviewed as new evidence becomes available. Using wiki software also means that we can publish guidelines in sections as they are finalised, rather than waiting for large paperbased volumes to be printed and distributed.”

One of the most significant changes in recommended practice in the new guideline was a strengthening of the evidence for sentinel node biopsy.

“The review found new evidence to support the use of sentinel node biopsy to accurately stage melanoma,” Professor Thompson said. “This is particularly important, given the advent of new effective but high-cost drugs that may be of value in appropriately staged patients.”

The guidelines will cover prevention, diagnosis, management and follow-up as well as special population groups such as children and pregnant women. The full set of guidelines is expected to be completed and published by early 2018. 

The new set of guidelines are available online.

Read more on our Research Blog.

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