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The Most Important Day Under The Sun

Media Release

The Most Important Day Under The Sun

New Zealand health professionals aim to provide a collective solution to the increase in melanoma in NZ at the inaugural Melanoma Summit being billed as “the most important day under the sun”.

Summit planning committee co-chairs Drs Graham Stevens and Garry Duncan say the day is aimed at looking at developing a collective understanding and future solutions to New Zealand’s melanoma rates - rates that are among the highest in the world.

Melanoma is not as well understood as some other cancers. For New Zealand to make health gains in this area, health professionals involved in every aspect of melanoma – prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and research - need to work together to develop a strategy that will have the most impact.

The summit organising group has been heartened by the interest in the one-day meeting being held in Wellington on November 14, as it shows the willingness of health professionals to work together to tackle this cancer.

“In the news last week we learned of research showing that New Zealand is not winning the battle to decrease melanoma rates.

“It is apparent that more needs to be done to modify New Zealanders’ behaviour when it comes to
sun exposure. We also need to sharpen our focus on innovations, developments and research around the world if we are to reduce the impact these cancers have on our community.

The aims of the summit are:

• To bring world class leaders in melanoma practice and research from Australia, Canada and New Zealand to share what they know and their forward thinking

• To celebrate the launch of the Australia and New Zealand clinical practice guidelines that cover prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up

• To reflect on and debate what are the key issues and challenges for melanoma in New Zealand

• To launch a melanoma ‘network’ similar to that existing in other specialist areas.

Leading international speakers will include:

• Prof Mark Elwood – British Columbia Cancer Agency-based epidemiologist and public health medicine specialist with a distinguished career in research and programme development in cancer prevention and screening; co-author of one of the most comprehensive texts on the prevention of skin cancer to date

• Prof John Thompson - Professor of Surgery and Director of the Sydney Melanoma Unit, one of the world’s largest melanoma treatment and research centres; world leader in the development of therapies for recurrent melanoma

• Assoc Prof Scott Menzies - Director of the Sydney Melanoma Diagnostic Centre and an Associate Professor in the Discipline of Dermatology, University of Sydney; leader in the research and development of diagnostic technologies for primary melanoma

Melanoma is the fourth most common type of cancer for both men and women in New Zealand, with nearly 2000 new cases a year.

Further Information about the Summit can be found at www.hsc.org.nz


ENDS

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