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New technology in the fight against melanoma

For immediate release


23 January 2007


New technology in the fight against melanoma

Christchurch melanoma screening company, MoleTrac, is leading the charge in the fight against skin cancer, combining ground breaking technology with customised education to deliver a comprehensive melanoma screening service with instant results..

MoleTrac, has developed the melanoma screening system incorporating advanced technology from the Sydney Melanoma Unit in order to detect melanoma at an early stage. MoleTrac director and leading Christchurch skin cancer specialist Dr Grant Bellaney says: ‘This system is an exciting step in melanoma screening as it provides patients with an accurate assessment and instant results.’

About one in 15 New Zealanders will develop melanoma during their lifetime.

The MoleTrac service includes both total body photography and individual mole screening. Published papers have indicated that the screening technology has accuracy comparable to that of a dermatologist in the diagnosis of melanoma, and the total body photography system is the most advanced in Australasia.

Dr Bellaney says education is paramount in the fight against skin cancer and MoleTrac feels that the better informed patients are the more proactive they can be in protecting themselves and picking up any melanomas that may appear.

Patients are given a CD of their total body photography images to use as a self-monitoring aid and instructed on how to use this effectively, along with information on how to protect themselves from skin cancer and the symptoms of melanoma.

Director of the Sydney Melanoma Diagnostic Centre and a world expert on melanoma, Associate Professor Scott Menzies believes this technology can ‘identify melanomas in their very early stages when they can be easily treated but are extremely difficult to detect during routine examinations.’

“This technology is also helping to reduce the very high rate of unnecessary procedures to remove benign moles,” he added.

MoleTrac encourages New Zealanders to take control of their health and utilise this new technology available to them. To find out more about MoleTrac visit www.moletrac.co.nz or freephone 0800 MoleTrac (0800 665 387)

ENDS

Background Information on Melanoma

Melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer. It arises in the melanocytes, the pigment producing cells in the skin. Most melanomas begin in or near an existing mole or dark spot on the skin. It is important that you know the size, color and location of moles on your body so that you can take note of changes in existing moles or the appearance of new moles.

An Otago University study has identified avoiding excessive sun exposure and early diagnosis as the best ways to reduce the number of fatal melanomas in New Zealand.

Early detection is critical for the successful removal of malignant melanomas.

The longer melanoma is left undetected, the deeper it gets. This depth, called the Breslow thickness, dramatically affects survival rates.

According to the Sydney Melanoma Unit, the survival rate falls to just 50 percent once a melanoma has spread four millimetres or more into the skin.

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