The MelaTools programme is a portfolio of studies with the overall aim of optimising early diagnosis of the serious skin cancer, melanoma, in the UK primary care. The studies investigate the use of electronic tools to help both patients and GPs to recognise and assess potentially suspicious pigmented skin lesions/moles.
MelaTools has its own dedicated website.
We are also interested in technological approaches to helping people detect potential cancer symptoms earlier. The MelaTools-Q and MelaTools-Apps studies helped provide evidence for the MelaTools-SSM trial, assessing the use of smartphone applications for skin self-monitoring (SSM) among people at higher risk of melanoma.
Mills K, Emery J, Lantaff R, Radford M, Pannebakker M, Hall P, Burrows N, Williams K, Saunders CL, Murchie P, Walter FM. Protocol for the melatools skin self-monitoring trial: a phase II randomised controlled trial of an intervention for primary care patients at higher risk of melanoma. BMJ Open. 2017. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017934.
For more information on MelaTools please contact Chief Investigator: Fiona Walter
Worldwide, malignant melanoma is the 15th commonest cancer with nearly 300,000 new cases of melanoma in 2018. Melanoma has one of the fastest rising incidence rates of any cancer, and among white populations, incidence has quadrupled over the last 30 years.
Most skin lesions first present in primary care where distinguishing rare melanomas from benign lesions can be challenging. More accurate triage of suspicious pigmented skin lesions in primary care could lead to more prompt diagnosis of melanoma at earlier stages and improved outcomes, and reduce unnecessary biopsies and referrals. Dermoscopy improves diagnostic accuracy among specialists and is promoted for use by primary care physicians. However, when used by untrained clinicians, some studies suggest that accuracy may be no better than visual inspection; therefore, patients with suspicious skin lesions may have unnecessary referrals and excisions, or even inappropriate reassurance.
Our work explored two principle aspects:
- A systematic review on the first presentation of suspicious skin lesions in primary care and whether dermoscopy and dermoscopy-related technologies, with suitable training, could be accurately and effectively used to triage suspicious skin lesions at this point in the healthcare pathway.
- A nationwide survey of UK primary care practitioners regarding their usage and opinions of dermoscopy within a primary care setting.
For more information please contact: Owain Jones