Melanoma Australia estimates that around 16,800 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, with one person diagnosed every 30 minutes.
Melanoma is one of the most dangerous and aggressive skin cancers due to its potential to spread rapidly throughout the body. Early identification and removal are essential for higher survival rates.
Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that over the past decade the overall five-year survival rate for advanced melanoma has increased from less than 10% to over 50%.
The latest blood test method uses a special technique involving melanoma-specific antibodies and can not only be used to diagnose melanoma, but also to assess whether remaining cancer cells have been successfully removed after skin cancer surgery.
Researchers from the University of Michigan say this is the first study using circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to assess the effectiveness of surgery.
“CTCs have the potential to identify treatment resistance and recurrence, and may be a valuable biomarker to noninvasively monitor disease progression,” said research author Sunitha Nagrath.
Australia has the second highest melanoma rate in the world, with nearly 2,000 deaths each year.
This groundbreaking research could be game-changing and life-saving not just for Australians, but for people around the world, with more than 300,000 new cases reported globally in 2019.