Melanoma survivors are being warned to stay vigilant about skin checks, with new research showing a high risk of a subsequent melanoma diagnosis on the same body part as the original.
Previous studies show melanoma survivors have a six to seven times higher risk of being diagnosed with a subsequent invasive melanoma when compared to the general population.
But new research from Cancer Council Queensland and the University of Queensland found the risk is greatest on the same part of the body as the original melanoma.
Importantly, the findings also show that the chance of being diagnosed with a subsequent invasive melanoma remains high irrespective of whether the first melanoma was invasive or not.
The research will be presented to health professionals and global experts at the Global Controversies and Advances in Skin Cancer Conference (GC-SC 2013) in Brisbane today.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the study highlighted the need for ongoing surveillance for all people previously diagnosed with melanoma, with particular attention required around the site where the original melanoma appeared.
“Melanoma survivors require regular, ongoing, all-over skin checks,” Ms Clift said.
“However, the study showed Queenslanders with melanoma have the highest risk of being diagnosed with subsequent primary invasive melanomas on the same part of the body – particularly the head.”
“For example, women diagnosed with a primary invasive melanoma on the head were 13 times more likely to be diagnosed with a subsequent invasive melanoma at the same site, when compared to other women.”
“The results also indicate the need for patients with non-invasive and early stage melanoma to be followed-up more closely.”
Cancer Council Queensland believes the findings have important implications for both public health and clinical practice.