11 December 2023

The Mid North Coast is the first regional centre in NSW to have its own 3D melanoma imaging and diagnostics machine as part of an initiative to build research capacity and improve early detection of melanoma.

Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park said Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer and across NSW we’re expecting 6,000 people to be diagnosed with melanoma by the end of this year.

“The Mid North Coast is one of the state’s melanoma hot spots, it is the most common cancer in the region with more than five people diagnosed each week,” Mr Park said.

“Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and early detection can potentially be lifesaving.”

Minister for Medical Research David Harris said Mid North Coast Local Health District has partnered with the Australian Cancer Research Foundation’s flagship Australian Centre of Excellence in Melanoma Imaging and Diagnosis to participate in a three-year $10 million research project.

“Port Macquarie Community Health Campus has now installed the Vectra 3D whole body scanner, with the first participants set to be enrolled in this important melanoma research study in the new year,” Mr Harris said.

“This advanced 3D imaging system will help improve early detection and diagnosis of melanomas, particularly in regional areas.”

Labor Spokesperson for Port Macquarie Cameron Murphy welcomed the research into melanoma.

“We know residents of coastal locations like Port Macquarie spend a lot of time in the sun,” Mr Murphy said.

“I welcome this technology which will enable residents of Port Macquarie and nearby communities to participate in the research and development of new and innovative ways to screen and detect melanomas.”

MNCLHD Chief Executive Stewart Dowrick said the equipment would help to build long-term capacity toward early detection of melanoma locally.

“The scanner is armed with 92 digital cameras which capture the entire skin surface, software is then used to construct a 3D image of the patient, documenting all the lesions on the body.” Mr Dowrick said.

“Moles and lesions are tagged with a unique number which helps to track them over time and monitor any changes in lesions which have been identified as concerning.”

MNCLHD District Director Integrated Care, Allied Health and Community Services Jill Wong said she was thrilled Mid North Coast residents would be part of a cutting edge, national collaborative research project between The University of Sydney, University of Queensland and Monash University.

“This 3D body scanner is a game changer in terms of the screening capability and early detection of melanomas, particularly for those at high risk of developing skin cancers,” Ms Wong said.