Australia's melanoma rates overtake New Zealand

A melanoma patient says although Australia now has higher melanoma rates than us, access to treatment is far better.

New research shows New Zealand is no longer the melanoma capital of the world as Australia has taken the number one spot.

But cancer patient Leisa Renwick told Newshub the chances of surviving the disease in Australia are still greater.

"If Keytruda doesn't work for someone they don't have any other options, whereas in Australia they're always looking to improve their treatment, they're always trying to do a better job."

Ms Renwick said Pharmac's drug funding system doesn't provide quick or affordable access to medication. She wants to see more groups working together on how to treat cancer.

"What I would like is for all the stakeholder groups to be called together, I'm talking patients, doctors, stakeholder groups like the cancer society [and] pharmaceutical companies."

Ms Renwick also believes a focus should be put on the more at risk groups, especially people of European descent.

"I think we should look at that group in particular, if we really want to know how we're doing with melanoma, because the other groups from different countries, they're just not as susceptible."

Fairer skinned people who burn in the sun easily have a higher risk of melanoma.

The Ministry of Health states Māori and Pacific people have a much lower chance of getting melanomas, but if they do it is often thicker and more serious.