Melanoma campaigns need makeover

Early diagnosis is not as easy as ABCDE, study finds

Campaigns aimed at boosting early melanoma diagnoses need a do-over, say New Zealand researchers who found nodular and thick melanomas are slipping through the cracks because they don’t meet the ABCDE criteria.

Their case-control study of 957 melanoma patients shows those with a melanoma deeper than 2mm take longer to diagnose, due to patient delay in seeking medical help.

The reason is thicker melanomas are more likely to present because of bleeding, crusting itchiness, pain or inflammation rather than abnormal colour or shape, the researchers report in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Nodular melanomas also escape the shape and colour criteria and are more significantly more likely to present because they are raised.

And many small but thick melanomas are likely to be missed because they fail to meet the 6mm diameter criteria of the ABCDE algorithm.