Melanoma risk assessment and tailored prevention in general practice (PhD)

 

Introduction

In Australia, over 14,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2018, with 13% of those expected to result in death. Early diagnosis increases the chance of survival from melanoma and primary care plays a major role in early detection and preventative advice. In Australian general practice, a targeted approach is currently only recommended for people at increased risk, however general practitioners have shown to be relying on personal knowledge, intuition and perceived risk to guess the complex interaction between multiple risk factors.

A targeted approach to categorise the population based on risk to deliver appropriate early detection advice could reduce the burden of the disease; which could be achieved by using new technology, such as mobile applications (apps). There is growing evidence to support the use of these emerging technologies into clinical care however there is limited evidence about their acceptability and efficacy.

This PhD aims to identify the prevalence of people at increased risk of melanoma and gain an understanding of the usefulness and acceptability of mobile technology for skin self-monitoring in this population to potentially encourage earlier presentation to a health professional. By categorising the population by risk, a more individualised approach can be undertaken to improve outcomes of people above population risk.

This PhD will be the first series of studies in Australia to try to understand the acceptability and usefulness of skin self-monitoring apps for melanoma from a patient perspective. scale trial to further assess the efficacy of the intervention on This research could potentially impact melanoma outcomes by using effective risk stratified cancer screening and monitoring approaches for the eventual implementation into usual care.

Project Team

Aims & Objectives

This PhD aims to identify the prevalence of people at increased risk of melanoma and gain an understanding of the usefulness and acceptability of mobile technology for skin self-monitoring in this population to potentially encourage earlier presentation to a health professional.

Methodology

To date the first study investigating the prevalence of people at increased risk of melanoma has been completed and a publication is underway. The recruitment for the second study aiming to investigate the usefulness and acceptability of mobile technology for skin self-monitoring has been completed and qualitative analysis is in progress. From these findings a final study will inform the last study in the PhD.

Outputs & impact

This research can help inform risk stratified screening in primary care and understanding if there is a role for self-monitoring in addition to regular skin checks in an Australian context.

Publications for each individual study is hoped to be published by the end of the PhD. The finding will be presented at local and international conferences and the results will be disseminated to the participants and public.

Next steps

As I am currently completing the second study in this program of research and the results from this study will be informing the last study, which could include a systematic review to broaden our understanding of apps in this area or further exploratory work on other possible apps in this space.

Related projects

Melatools Programme

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