15 May 2012

Cost of melanoma checks a deterrent - Cancer Society

6:37 pm on 15 May 2012

The Cancer Society says the cost of getting mole checks is deterring people from getting the care they need to monitor for deadly melanomas.

A Health and Disability Commission report has found a man who died from the skin cancer had no care plan put in place after he had a melanoma removed by his GP.

The Health and Disability Commissioner is warning people with melanoma they must insist on a follow-up care plan after the cancer is removed.

But the Cancer Society's health promotion manager Jan Pearson says some people can not afford the cost of going to a GP or specialist to get follow-up care, such as mole checks.

Dr Pearson says while some GPs have specialist training in skin cancers - and are a cheaper option - they are not always available.

She says people who have had melanoma should have access to regular checks without the financial burden.

Dermatologist Jenn Pilgrim says she sees far too many cases where the follow-up protocols for melanoma have not been observed - meaning there is more risk the disease could come back and potentially kill.

She says it happens either because the GP does not instigate a plan or the patient does not realise the importance of following up.

Ms Pilgrim says she would like to see a more effective public screening process, such as the one in Australia.