Newly developed test can quickly identify melanoma
Researchers have now developed a test that could help to detect skin cancer at an early stage in the future. The high-precision online skin cancer test can identify people with a high risk of melanoma in just 90 seconds. The test predicts the likelihood of the fatal disease developing over the next three and a half years.
In their current research, the scientists at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute developed a test that can detect people with an increased probability of developing melanoma within just 90 seconds. The results of the investigation were published in the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute".
Data from more than 45,000 melanoma patients were evaluated
The test was specially developed for people aged 40 to 70 years and is based on data from the world's largest skin cancer study by the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. For the development, 45,000 melanoma patients were medically monitored over a period of over eight years. The test is the most reliable tool we have developed so far to predict melanoma risk, explains Professor David Whiteman from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. This test, called Melanoma Risk Predictor, can be done online at any time.
What does the test include?
The test addresses questions about age and gender, the ability of the skin to absorb tan, the number of birthmarks present, the hair color, and the use of sunscreen products. The tool for performing the test is self-explanatory and easy to use, say the experts. If, for example, people indicate the number of birthmarks they have on their skin, pictures of people with birthmarks are displayed on their skin, so those affected can then choose the most similar pictures. You don't need to have detailed knowledge, the doctors explain simple questions that you have to answer. The test will then divide the participant into one of five categories, which indicate the risk of developing melanoma.
It is important to recognize melanoma early
Regular screening of people at higher risk for cancer can help to detect melanoma early, before it spreads to the lower layers of the skin and other parts of the body, explains Professor Whiteman. The study found that the actual risk of developing melanoma often differs greatly from the individual's own assessments. This underscores the importance of personal advice on the risk of melanoma, because this could well differ from the perceived risk of those affected.
Test should not replace examination by a doctor
If people are not aware of their personal risk, the online test is a good way to determine the real risk. The risk prediction tool could be really helpful not only to sensitize people to their individual risk, but also to give those affected advice on how to deal with their risks. Professor Whiteman adds that the tool only provides an assessment of future risk and should not be used as a substitute for skin exams by a doctor. (as)