The latest tool in the fight against melanoma has been created by Queensland researchers – an online test that helps predict how likely a person is to develop the cancer.

The QIMR Berghofer Medical Institute developed the Melanoma Risk Predictor based on data collected from nearly 42,000 people aged between 40 and 80 over a seven-year period.

The test is available for people aged over 40 and estimates a person’s melanoma risk for the next three-and-a-half years by looking at seven key factors: age, sex, ability to tan, number of moles at age 21, number of skin lesions, hair colour and sunscreen use.

House Call Doctor’s Chief Operating Officer Craig Glover said sun-related cancer was a major concern in Queensland.

“More than 3,600 Queenslanders are estimated to be diagnosed with melanoma every year, which explains why this test was developed here in our sunny state,” Mr Glover said.

“While this test is available for those middle-aged and over, we would encourage younger Queenslanders to regularly have their skin checked by a GP or after hours doctor, as melanoma is the most common cancer for those under 40.”

If you have moles, familiarise yourself with the symptoms that potentially indicate melanoma.

They include:

  • Size – the spot may grow larger
  • Colour – the mole may become increasingly blotchy with different shades of colour (brown, black, blue, red, white, light grey, pink or skin-coloured)
  • Shape or border – the spot may increase in height, become scaly, develop an irregular edge or lack symmetry
  • Itching or bleeding – the mole may itch or bleed at times
  • Elevation – the spot may start as a raised area, often red or brown in colour.

The online test is available here.