International Models of Melanoma Management (Australia)
This chapter describes the clinical management of melanoma in Australia, the UK and the USA, addressing the challenges faced by the current models. There is a shortage of dermatologists in the UK and, in the USA, the cost of health care limits access. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and a geographically dispersed population with little access to specialist health care in rural areas. Every day, general practitioners (GPs) are confronted with skin cancer patients due to a shortage of dermatologists, but lack the skills to manage these patients and must refer them to specialists or the hospital system, where they might await treatment for up to a year. While the latter is an affordable option for those without private health insurance, patients risk dying while waiting for treatment.
In an attempt to innovate the current model, dedicated skin cancer facilities have been established in which GPs subspecialize in skin cancer medicine through standardized qualifications. Patients can gain quicker access to medical care and receive skin cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment on-site and within a short period of time. Education providers like HealthCert are similarly revolutionizing primary care, upskilling GPs through with university-certified courses in skin cancer medicine and dermatology. These initiatives reduce the burden on hospitals and dermatologists, and reduce patient waiting times and expenses.
This chapter explores the considerations and advantages of developing and expanding Australian skin cancer services, including the benefits of training GPs in dermoscopy, routine screenings of the general population, and advancement of teledermoscopy services in under-resourced locations.
KeywordsMelanoma management Australia GP training Treatment Skin cancer Dermatology Dermoscopy Diagnosis
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