New research into importance of skin surveillance to save lives from melanoma

New research into importance of skin surveillance to save lives from melanoma

4 November 2021

New research has provided evidence that routine skin checks by a health professional, coupled with checking your own skin, are vital in saving lives from melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer.

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world, with one person dying every 6 hours from the disease. Melanoma is also the most common cancer in 20 to 39-year-olds.

The first sign of melanoma is often a new or changing spot or mole on the skin, and the ABCDE guidelines are a helpful tool to identify a melanoma. However, melanoma can vary greatly in its appearance and many subtle clues can only be detected by a trained healthcare professional using a magnifying tool, known as a dermatoscope, to check the skin.

The research, published today in the prestigious journal JAMA Dermatology, found that in a group of 2,452 patients diagnosed with melanoma, slower-growing melanomas were more likely to be detected at a routine skin check and be thinner, whereas faster-growing melanomas were more likely to be patient-detected and thicker. It was estimated that patients whose melanoma was detected by their doctor during a routine skin check were 32% less likely to die from melanoma compared to patients who identified their own melanoma.

The study also found that melanomas easily detected using the ABCDE rule were more likely to be detected by the patients (70%), whereas atypical ones were more often detected by a doctor during a routine skin check.

“This evidence highlights the importance of not only knowing your own skin and seeking advice from your doctor if you notice any changes but also the critical role of trained healthcare professionals for detecting melanomas early, before they have had a chance to spread,” said study author Prof Richard Scolyer AO, pathologist and Co-Medical Director of Melanoma Institute Australia.

Current Australian guidelines recommend that individuals at very high risk of melanoma receive full skin examinations every 6 months. However, melanoma screening programs for the general population are not currently undertaken in Australia because of inadequate evidence that melanoma screening ultimately saves lives, uncertainty about overdiagnosis and unnecessary biopsy, and limited evidence that it is cost effective.

In the last decade there has been renewed interest in melanoma screening, driven by the changing landscape of melanoma care.

“We found that melanoma detection during a routine skin check was associated with lower risk of dying from any cause, but it was not statistically significant for melanoma-specific mortality,” said cancer epidemiologist and lead author Prof Anne Cust, from Melanoma Institute Australia, The Daffodil Centre and The University of Sydney. “Based on our early findings, the cost-effectiveness of a population melanoma screening program should be re-assessed, and a large randomised controlled trial is needed to provide definitive evidence.”

Melanoma Institute Australia has recently launched its ‘Game On Mole’ awareness campaign which uses slogan t-shirts to start conversations about melanoma early detection, and urges Australians to take photos of their skin and monitor for any changes.

To join the campaign and buy the ‘Game On Mole’ t-shirt, go to www.gameonmole.com.au.

Kyly Clarke urges Aussies to step up to save lives from melanoma
03 Feb 2020

Kyly Clarke urges Aussies to step up to save lives from melanoma

Australian television presenter, interior designer and mother Kyly Clarke has been announced as the new Ambassador for Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and its national awareness and fundraising campaign Melanoma March.

Improving support for our patients across Australia.
03 Feb 2020

Improving support for our patients across Australia.

Melanoma Institute Australia has recently partnered with three other organisations to boost support for melanoma patients and their carers across Australia.   

Boost to melanoma support in WA
31 Jan 2020

Boost to melanoma support in WA

Melanoma patients and their families across Western Australia will benefit from strengthened and expanded services with the merging of melanomaWA and Melanoma Institute Australia.

New Test to Predict Primary Melanoma Progression
21 Jan 2020

New Test to Predict Primary Melanoma Progression

Australian researchers have played a critical role in the discovery of a potential new test to predict which early stage melanoma patients are at high risk of their disease recurring and progressing.

Community Fundraising December Wrap-Up
14 Jan 2020

Community Fundraising December Wrap-Up

We are extremely grateful for our community fundraisers, who, even in this difficult time, have given up their time and effort to fundraise so we can continue to work towards our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.

Two melanoma treatments approved for PBS listing
24 Dec 2019

Two melanoma treatments approved for PBS listing

Melanoma patients are set to benefit from subsidised access to immunotherapy treatment for high risk early-stage and advanced-stage melanoma patients.    

Immunotherapy: the decade's biggest health advance
23 Dec 2019

Immunotherapy: the decade's biggest health advance

An informative article on how immunotherapy is revolutionising cancer treatment, written by Jill Margo and featured in the Australian Financial Review.  

 

Boost to Melanoma Services in the Riverina
12 Dec 2019

Boost to Melanoma Services in the Riverina

Melanoma patients and their families in the Riverina will benefit from strengthened and sustained melanoma services with the merger of the Amie St Clair Melanoma Trust and Melanoma Institute Australia.

Winner of the SunSafe Student Ambassador Program announced
11 Dec 2019

Winner of the SunSafe Student Ambassador Program announced

Belmont High School at Lake Macquarie has been announced winner of the 2019 SunSafe Student Ambassador Program video competition.

Community Fundraising November Wrap-Up
04 Dec 2019

Community Fundraising November Wrap-Up

It’s time again to say thank you to our amazing community fundraisers!

MIA & MPA Patient Information Evening videos now available
03 Dec 2019

MIA & MPA Patient Information Evening videos now available

Videos of the sessions at the recent Patient Information Evening co-hosted by Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and Melanoma Patients Australia (MPA) are now available for viewing.

MIA shines in poster session
22 Nov 2019

MIA shines in poster session

MIA is well-represented in the poster sessions at the Society for Melanoma Research 2019 Congress in the USA, with four poster presentations being given by members of our translational research lab.

MIA Co-Medical Director opens SMR Congress in USA
21 Nov 2019

MIA Co-Medical Director opens SMR Congress in USA

Professor Georgina Long has today opened the Society for Melanoma Research 2019 Congress in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Highly Cited Researchers List names MIA Co-Medical Directors
20 Nov 2019

Highly Cited Researchers List names MIA Co-Medical Directors

MIA’s Co-Medical Directors, Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyer, have both been named Highly Cited Researchers, according to the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list.

MPA and MIA collaboration
07 Nov 2019

MPA and MIA collaboration

Melanoma Patients Australia (MPA) and Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) have announced a new multi-year agreement to provide enhanced support services for melanoma patients nationally.

Community Fundraising October Wrap-Up
04 Nov 2019

Community Fundraising October Wrap-Up

It is time again to say thank you to our incredible community fundraisers who are helping us get closer to our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.

Promising data for advanced melanoma patients
09 Oct 2019

Promising data for advanced melanoma patients

MIA has presented promising data regarding progression-free survival rates for advanced melanoma patients at the ESMO 2019 Congress in Barcelona.

Melanoma Information Forum
04 Oct 2019

Melanoma Information Forum

We are delighted to partner with Melanoma Patients Australia to host a Melanoma Information Forum at The Poche Centre on 6th November.

Community Fundraising September Wrap-Up
02 Oct 2019

Community Fundraising September Wrap-Up

Another month has flown by and yet again we have a host of amazing community fundraisers who generously gave up their time to help us reach our goal of zero deaths from melanoma.

Notice for Supporters to Submit to PBAC
26 Sep 2019

Notice for Supporters to Submit to PBAC

Comments in favour of giving patients with BRAF-positive melanoma access to first-line immunotherapy need to be submitted online prior to October 9, 2019.