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New study shows vast majority of melanomas are self-detected

New study shows vast majority of melanomas are self-detected – with home-grown technology here to help


A new New Zealand study published this week confirms that the vast majority of melanomas are self-detected.

85.4% of melanomas are selfdetected by the patient - or by a family or friend (62.7% and 22.7%, respectively). Doctors / physicians first detected only 14.6% of all melanomas.

The take home message for people – and empowering message – is that the regular checking of your own skin is both important and effective.

New Zealand dermatologist website, DermNet, confirms that for most people self skin checks done every 1–3 months is all that is needed to pick up early signs of skin cancer and melanoma.

What to do once you’ve noticed an abnormal skin spot?

The August 2018 study also noted the importance of promptly having a doctor take a look at a suspicious spot once self-detected. This ensures the melanoma is removed before having a chance to spread – and a delay in diagnosis is most often due to the patient delaying bringing the abnormal lesion to a doctor’s attention.

Helping people to have a doctor take a look at their suspicious spots is New Zealand smartphone app, Firstcheck.

“Having skin spots checked is now as simple as snapping photos with your smartphone and sending them straight to a skin cancer expert for review,” says Hayden Laird, founder CEO of Firstcheck.

“The Firstcheck app and specialised smartphone lens attachment enhance self skin checks by enabling you to easily obtain an expert opinion direct from a local skin cancer doctor”.

“Performing a self skin check is all very well – but there is that all important next step of having any suspect spots then checked by a doctor – and Firstcheck is helping there.”

“We are expanding on skin screening options available to people and making it easier than ever to get a spot checked. The demand is increasing the world-over for online healthcare consultations.”

“We’re determined to help address New Zealand’s appalling skin cancer statistics.”
Two out of every three New Zealanders will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer even before turning 70 years old - and in 2018 around 90,000 Kiwis will be diagnosed with skin cancer.
Developed in New Zealand, the Firstcheck app is free to download and skin specialists are charging just $19.95 for the review service.
Yes, early detection can save lives – it can also otherwise ensure that your treatment options are simpler and more affordable too,” Laird says
And rather than having a nagging doubt a particular mole, peace of mind can now be just a click away.”
So what should you be checking your skin for?

Ugly ducklings! Most moles and spots on your body are the same or are similar-looking to each other. Compare your spots with other spots on your body. If any mole or spot stands out or looks noticeably different from that of surrounding spots, it is the "Ugly Duckling".

The Skin Cancer College of Australasia recommends that you "SCAN" your skin looking for spots or moles that are:
- SORE - A spot which is sore (scaly, itchy, bleeding or tender) and doesn't heal within 6 weeks
- CHANGING - In appearance (size, shape, colour or texture)
- ABNORMAL - Looks different, feels different, or stands out when compared to other spots and moles
- NEW - Spots that have appeared recently

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