Melanoma and Skin Cancer

Australia has the highest rates of melanoma and other skin cancers in the world, and they cost the health system more than any other cancer. This multidisciplinary stream works on melanoma and other skin cancer research across the cancer control continuum including, aetiology, prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship, with a focus on translational outcomes relevant to health policy, clinical practice and improved patient outcomes. The team partners with the Melanoma Institute Australia and has strong collaborative links with other Australian and international researchers and clinicians. The team has expertise in epidemiological, intervention, mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative), and data linkage research methods.

Key areas of focus in this stream include:

Melanoma screening modelling and implementation project

Early detection of melanoma is associated with better health outcomes. Unlike cancers of the breast, bowel and cervix, there is no structured screening program for melanoma in Australia. This project is evaluating the benefits, harms, cost-effectiveness and resource implications of implementing a national risk-tailored melanoma screening program. The project integrates microsimulation modelling, implementation science and policy expertise, and is funded by a NHMRC project grant (#1165936).

Tailoring melanoma prevention, early detection and treatment strategies using personal risk

The team leads several projects that evaluate tailored approaches to patient care and cancer control that take into account individuals’ risk factors and health system factors. The Tailored Surveillance Project is evaluating the implementation of personalised melanoma risk assessment and tailored patient education and skin surveillance in the dermatology clinics at three major melanoma centres (Melanoma Institute Australia, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Westmead Hospital). The study is supported by a pilot and seed funding grant from Sydney Catalyst. We recently completed the Melanoma Genomics Managing Your Risk Study, a NHMRC-funded randomised controlled trial (#1129822) in which 1,025 Australians took part. This study evaluated the impact of providing personal genomic melanoma risk information on skin cancer prevention and early detection behaviours, and psychosocial, ethical and economic outcomes. The team also has expertise in developing, validating and prospectively evaluating melanoma risk prediction tools to better identify, treat and follow-up people with melanoma or at high risk of developing melanoma.

Centre of Research Excellence in Melanoma

In collaboration with clinicians and researchers from melanoma centres and academic partners in NSW and Victoria, the team leads an NHMRC-funded Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Melanoma (#1135285). This multidisciplinary partnership combines leading clinical expertise in melanoma diagnosis and treatment with methodological expertise in epidemiology, bioinformatics, health economics, and implementation science. Collaborative research, developing capacity, and translation of research outcomes into policy and practice are cornerstones of the CRE. Research themes include: identifying and managing people at high risk of melanoma; optimising management of people with curable, early-stage melanoma; and psychosocial care, survivorship and the patient experience. www.melanomacre.com

International melanoma consortia: risk factors for melanoma incidence and recurrence

The team is involved in international melanoma consortia research programs, bringing together world-class multidisciplinary researchers to answer important research questions concerning melanoma aetiology and treatment using large, comprehensive datasets. These include the Genetics of Melanoma (GenoMEL) consortium, the Genes, Environment and Melanoma (GEM) consortium, and the Integration of Clinical and Molecular Biomarkers for Melanoma Survival (InterMEL) consortium.

Research Team

Professor Anne Cust

Professor Anne Cust

Deputy Director, The Daffodil Centre; Stream lead, Melanoma and Skin Cancer

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