Skin cancers

Australian leaders in melanoma call for action in new report


Professor Georgina Long

A national targeted screening program for melanoma is one of 25 recommendations which could help achieve the stretch goal of zero deaths from melanoma by 2030.

Launching a new State of the Nation report into melanoma, co-medical directors of the Melanoma Institute Australia Professors Georgina Long and Richard Scolyer, said minimum standards for diagnosis of melanoma were also necessary.

Consistent use of whole-body examinations and dermoscopy, supported by investment in GP and dermoscopy training program were also recommended.

They said support for clinicians to adhere to guidelines, a Patient Navigation Service, a clinical care standard and written treatment and care plans would help reduce the variation observed in melanoma diagnosis and treatment.

“We know that the consistent application of clinical care standards will reduce mortality by 32%,” Professor Scolyer said

The 200+ page report also recommended a modernised prevention and awareness strategy along with investment in shade in high-risk public spaces, and a stronger approach to sun-safety in schools, sport and workplaces which could reduce the incidence of melanoma by 45%.

The independent report, commissioned by Melanoma Institute Australia and Melanoma Patients Australia, was informed by consultations across clinical experts, researchers, policy makers, patients and carers.

Victoria Beedle, CEO of Melanoma Patients Australia, said at the launch that by 2030, the number of melanoma survivors in Australia would increase by 83%.

The report called for more supportive care from diagnosis for people with melanoma and improved care through an enhanced network of melanoma nurses.

The report noted that while targeted and immunotherapies had led to marked improvements in long term survival, they came with significant side effects.

Pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression, skin rashes and irritation, and lymphoedema were commonly reported by patients with Stage III and IV melanoma.

The report said there was inconsistent screening for supportive care and lack of a structured model for melanoma survivorship.

State of the Nation: A Report into Melanoma – A National Health Priority was officially launched last week by the Federal Minister for Health Mr Greg Hunt.

The report was partly funded by Bristol Myers Squibb, MSD and Novartis

 

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