Australian Parliament Report on Skin Cancer Relevant for New Zealand

April 8, 2015

In its report Skin Cancer in Australia: Our National Cancer, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health makes specific recommendations on prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Skin Cancer Prevention

  1. National sporting bodies and associations which engage in outdoor activities should adopt sun smart policies modelled on a similar template to that of Cricket Australia and Surf Life Saving Australia incorporating aspects relevant to their sport.
  2. The Department of Education should work with States and Territories to encourage the adoption of sun smart policies in Australia's secondary schools which would include: (1) Expanding high school curricula to cover healthy sun-aware behaviours; and (2) Providing more covered outdoor learning areas.
  3. Local governments should give consideration to providing extended covered (shade) areas over swimming pools.

Early Diagnosis and Training

  1. The Department of Health include information reminding people to seek a skin cancer check when letters are sent out as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and that information be provided by general practitioners at health assessments for people aged 75 years and older.
  2. The Department of Health should consider the effectiveness of public awareness campaigns to increase the awareness of the need for skin checks, especially strategies to target high-risk groups.
  3. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners should conduct an assessment of ways to provide firm assurance to the public concerning skin cancer clinics. The assessment should consider potential accreditation options as well as a requirement for such clinics to be staffed by a minimum number of suitably qualified and experienced staff including dermatologists.
  4. Store and forward teledermatology as used by registered medical providers should be included on the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
  5. Dermatology components of the undergraduate medical curriculum should be expanded
  6. Proficiency in the use of the dermatoscope should be included in the practical component of all undergraduate medical courses and in rural nursing training courses
  7. All sun-exposed industries should incorporate mandatory sun-safety education in their induction programs.

Treatment and Management

  1. The National Health and Medical Research Council should work with relevant stakeholder to urgently update the registered Clinical practice guidelines for the management of melanoma in Australia and New Zealand (2008) and Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (and related lesions) – a guide to clinical management in Australia (2008).
  2. The above guidelines should be updated:
    - Shortly after each new treatment is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration; or
    - As frequently as recommended by the profession after relevant consultation.
  3. The Department of Health undertake research and analysis of whether clinical guidelines relating to skin cancer treatments can be placed on a digital platform, thereby allowing regular updates and quick and easy distribution of updated best practice for clinicians and practitioners.
  4. The Department of Health should work with State and Territory counterparts to: (1) establish a virtual platform for the multidisciplinary treatment of skin cancer for patients located in regional and remote Australia; and (2) further develop and implement best practice models for multidisciplinary care for the treatment of skin cancer patients.
  5. The Australian Government should ensure that adequate funds are provided for the non-medical support services of skin cancer patients and their families, particularly support services for those rural patients who have to travel for treatment.

Skin Cancer in Australia: Our National Cancer. Report on the Inquiry into Skin Cancer in Australia. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health

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