Australian researchers develop blood test that detects melanoma

  • 18/07/2018
The early detection method has been described a "game-changer".
The early detection method has been described a "game-changer". Photo credit: File

Australian researchers have developed the world's first blood test that can detect the early stages of melanoma.

The researchers believe it could save thousands of lives, particularly in New Zealand, where people are being diagnosed with the skin cancer more than any other country.

The leader of Melanoma Research Group at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Mel Ziman, says it's a game-changer. She says the blood test will "give clinicians another tool to improve diagnostic certainty" of skin cancer.

 "It will enable people to be identified at very early stages which is what we want because if you can get rid of melanoma at an early stage people are pretty much cured," Prof Ziman told Newshub.

The surgery and recovery process of dealing with melanoma is gruelling, according to UK woman Sharon Tyrer. She puts her diagnosis down to her husband who spotted a cancerous mole when she was in her dressing gown in 2016.

Initially she thought her husband was overreacting, but Ms Tyrer got the shock of her life when she found out he was right to be worried.

The GP referred her onto a dermatologist and after a biopsy it was confirmed she had melanoma. Ms Tyrer underwent a sentinel node biopsy and had two lymph nodes in her groin area removed in October 2016. She also had a skin graft to cover the 4x4 inch crater left behind after the mole was removed from her calf.

"That tiny innocuous freckle which was 'no problem at all' turned out to be quite sinister," she said.