The Prevalence of Risk Factors for Melanoma Using the MelaTool Risk Calculator in Primary Care Patients
Systematic reviews have shown there are accurate risk prediction risk models for melanoma that have been validated for their strengths in identifying patients at increased risk of melanoma. Cambridge University’s Primary Care Unit has identified a risk prediction model developed by Williams, 2011 as an effective model, which has been used in the development of the 'MelaTools' risk prediction tool and the current research taking place. The Primary Care Cancer research group in the Department of General Practice are piloting a risk tool 'MelaTools Q' to determine the prevalence of risk factors for melanoma in an Australian general practice population. This study will also trial the feasibility of using an electronic technological application for patient use in waiting rooms.
There are interventions and recommended preventive activities for people at higher risk of developing melanoma. The Australian Cancer Network Melanoma Guidelines Revision Working Party Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Melanoma in Australia and New Zealand (2008) recommend individuals at high risk of melanoma and their partner or carer be educated to recognise and document lesions suspicious of melanoma, and to be regularly checked by a clinician with six-monthly full body examination supported by total body photography and dermoscopy as required. It is an aim of this study that by utilising a validated risk prediction model in an Australian General Practice population, preventive practices may be put in place for those at increased risk.
In addition, this study aims to compare the prevalence of patients at increased risk for cutaneous melanoma in the Australian General Practice population to that in England, Wales and Scotland general practice populations, as detected through the studies undertaken by the Primary Care Unit of the University of Cambridge, UK.
Dr Fiona Walter, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK