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Applying new technologies to detect melanoma early

Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine is using state-of-the-art total body 3D skin imaging systems to detect and diagnosis melanoma earlier.

The new imaging systems, funded by the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, will soon be available in 15 health services across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Each machine contains 92 cameras that simultaneously capture the entire skin surface and a create an avatar of a patient’s skin. This can then be reviewed by a dermatologist via telehealth.

Using 3D software, dermatologists are able to zoom in and closely examine skin lesions. The software also supports dermatologists in their detection of changes in a patient’s skin over time.

‘With this equipment, we will have the ability to transform the ways in which melanoma is detected and improve access to advanced diagnostic technologies, particularly for people living in regional areas,’ said Director of the Victorian Melanoma Service at Alfred Health and Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University Associate Professor Victoria Mar.

In addition, Associate Professor Mar is currently investigating whether artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to further support diagnoses of melanoma.

‘The machines are currently able to detect changes in lesions but cannot determine whether they are benign or cancerous,’ explained Associate Professor Mar. 

The Australian Centre of Excellence in Melanoma Imaging and Diagnosis, a national collaboration involving researchers from Monash University, the University of Queensland and the University of Sydney, will inform how imaging technologies can effectively detect changes in a patient’s skin and identify cancerous cells early.

Melanoma is 12 times more prevalent in Australia than the global average, with approximately 28,000 diagnoses each year. Early detection is the best way to reduce the need for costly and intrusive late-stage melanoma treatments, and to improve prognosis for patients.

Applying new technologies to detect melanoma early