Cancer Council research to revolutionise skin checks

AINSLIE MULHOLLAND

Cancer Council Queensland hopes that all Queenslanders know their skin and contact their doctor immediately if they notice any changes.  SOURCE: Cancer Council Queensland

Cancer Council Queensland hopes that all Queenslanders know their skin and contact their doctor immediately if they notice any changes. Photo: Cancer Council Queensland

New research released by the Cancer Council Queensland has the potential to revolutionise how skin cancer checks are conducted throughout Queensland.

Cancer Council Queensland in conjunction with The University of Queensland has found that melanoma survivors are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with a melanoma on the same part of the body as where their original skin cancer was removed, regardless if the first melanoma was invasive.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said health providers are already aware of the significance of same-site monitoring for invasive melanoma patients.

“Clinical practice guidelines are in place to follow-up and monitor patients diagnosed with invasive melanoma, particularly around the same body site as the original,” Ms Clift said.

However, the current research indicates the importance of similar monitoring for patients who have been diagnosed with in situ melanoma – the earliest stage of the cancer.

“The researchers believe that the findings have important implications regarding clinical perceptions for the diagnosis of in situ melanomas, in that they were found to represent an important marker for the risk of subsequent invasive melanomas,” Ms Clift said.

“While melanoma survivors require regular, all-over skin examinations, the results clearly demonstrate the need for particular vigilance on the part of the body where the first melanoma was diagnosed.”

Ms Clift said Cancer Council Queensland hopes that the results of the research will impact on public health practices and clinical procedures.

“It is hoped the results of this research will raise awareness amongst clinicians of the need for careful and ongoing surveillance for patients with invasive or in-situ melanoma,” Ms Clift said.

Gregory Birtles-Crute had three in-situ melanomas cut and cauterised from his head almost four years ago by his General Practitioner.

However, in recent months he has noticed a change in his skin in the same area where he had the previous in-situ melanomas removed

“The skin on my head where they (in-situ melanomas) were removed before does not feel quite right,” Mr Birtles-Crute said.

Although he has not been contacted by his General Practitioner for a follow up consultation, he will be organising a whole-body skin examination as a result of the findings.

“The research did concern me, I see a logic to the findings and I will be following up with my doctor.”

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