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Skin specialists team up to fight melanoma

Published: 8:04PM Thursday December 27, 2012 Source: ONE News

Skin specialists are joining forces with community pharmacies in the fight against New Zealand's most common cancer.

In New Zealand, around 70,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.

About 2500 of those cases are found to be malignant melanomas.

However, melanoma detection may soon be as easy as a visit to your local pharmacy.

A new mole map service is currently being trialled in three Auckland pharmacies in which trained pharmacy staff take images of the suspicious moles uses special melanoma cameras.

The images are then sent immediately, via a secure link, to a panel of MoleMap dermatologists.

"If we can get an affordable screening process... then we may truly see a reduction in melanoma mortality in this country," said Dr Mark Gray says.

"And it's going to be a relatively inexpensive way of having a specialist diagnosis," he said.

The service cost around $60.00 and the results of the test are sent to the patient and their GP within days.

It is another step up for pharmacists, whose scope of practise has already extended to allow them to dispense the morning after pill, blood-thinning drug Warfarin, as well as the flu jab.

"It's really a great service we're going to be able to provide for our customer because at the end of the day it's about patient focus here, said pharmacist Seema Rambisheswar.

MoleMap says they will wait and see how customers respond to the trial before considering whether or not to extend the service to other parts of the country.