Early detection of melanoma: a consensus report from the Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Research Centre Melanoma Screening Summit

Melanoma is Australia’s fourth most commonly diagnosed invasive cancer overall. However, unlike breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, there is no organised screening program for melanoma in Australia. Thus, a summit was held to review evidence on current approaches for early detection of melanomas and explore new pathways and opportunities. The Summit was attended by experts with the most up-to-date evidence on melanoma detection, and international and national leaders in melanoma control, including clinicians, researchers, consumers and policy experts. The Summit revealed evidence of widespread opportunistic screening for melanoma and an increase in dedicated primary care skin cancer clinics in Australia over the past 20 years. There was consensus that there is a need to improve the current model of opportunistic screening. Having said that, insufficient information on the benefits, harms and costs of introducing a formal targeted screening hinders decision-making on the best path going forward. It is critical to address this gap in order to assess the value of moving from an opportunistic to a more systematic melanoma screening model. Further research is needed to understand how to best optimize early detection of melanoma in Australia, particularly in light of emerging technologies and treatment for advanced melanoma, which may alter the balance between benefits and harms of different screening strategies.

Read Full Text