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Melanoma 'calculator' the latest tool in our skin cancer battle

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Australians will now be able to determine their likelihood of developing melanoma in under a minute with a new lifetime risk “calculator”.

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Researchers at Melanoma Institute Australia have developed the online tool, and hope it will save lives by sparking early conversations between at-risk Australians and their doctors.

“No risk prediction is going to be absolutely perfect, but this is much better than anything else that’s available,” the institute’s co-medical director Professor Richard Scolyer said.

Currently, Australia has the equal-highest melanoma rate in the world with one person diagnosed every 30 minutes and one person dying every five hours from the disease.

Scolyer says that is exactly why an easily accessible response tailored to Australia was needed.

“Early detection is vital,” he said.

“Most melanomas will be cured if you recognise it early and have it cut out with simple surgery.”

While the life expectancy for Australians with advanced melanoma has tripled in recent years, Prof Scolyer and his colleagues hope the tool can steer Australia this decade towards the goal of no melanoma deaths.

The institute has also developed another two calculators for those who have had melanomas in the past.

They determine the risk of secondary melanomas developing, and the risk of melanoma spreading throughout the body.

All three calculators use information about the patient such as their age, their skin type, family history, and sun exposure to calculate an individual’s risk.

The calculators can be found online at www.melanomarisk.org.au.

-AAP

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