The risk of melanoma is based on a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There are some things you can do to minimise your risk factors, such as minimising sun exposure, however, other risk factors, such as family history, cannot be changed.
People at a higher risk of melanoma include those who have:
It should be noted that having a risk factor doesn’t mean you will get melanoma – or develop another melanoma.
For those who have already had a melanoma diagnosis, the risk of developing a second primary melanoma is approximately 10%. Statistically, the risk is highest within the initial 5 years after the first melanoma diagnosis, with second and third melanomas sometimes detected. For this reason, follow up checks and regular monitoring are essential.
If you have the above mentioned risk factors, or you’ve previously been diagnosed with melanoma, you will need to schedule regular health checks.
Full skin examinations are vital
The importance of self-examination
The ABCDE rule – Look for:
Remember, melanoma comes in all shapes, sizes and colours. If you’re concerned, get it checked by a doctor.
Also look at any scars. Any pigmentation within the scar needs to be checked by your health professional.
Monitoring after treatment for Stage 3 & 4 patients
Monitoring for melanoma recurrence is recommended through:
The Australian Cancer Research Foundation are currently conducting a research project which includes the trial of a machine that scans almost the entire skin surface, producing a 3D image of the body. The outcome is an avatar of the body and dermoscopic images. Trials are being conducted in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane including participants with various skin history backgrounds.
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is an area currently being researched. Ai is not currently used routinely in practice, as it is still in development. In the future, Ai is predicted to become part of skin checks and the monitoring of moles and lesions.
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For further information visit the Cancer Australia website.
Reference: Health Checks & Monitoring webinar, 9 November 2021, presented by Professor Peter Soyer and Dr Hannah Gribbin, Dermatology Research Centre, University of Queensland and Professor Mark Shackleton, Director of Oncology, Alfred Health and Monash University.
Disclaimer: This information is general advice and does not consider your objectives, health situation or needs. Specific medical advice must be tailored to the individual. This information will give you a general idea of the options available to you, however, you’ll need to determine what is appropriate for you.