New study data released by Australia’s largest melanoma research and treatment centre, Melanoma Institute Australia, reveals many early-stage melanoma patients are not fulfilling the recommended medical check-ups within the first year post- diagnosis.

According to an article published in Australian Doctor (June 3, 2015), “only 34 per cent of stage I patients and 14 per cent of stage II melanoma patients presented for the advised number of check-ups in the first year following diagnosis.”

The negative trend was identified through a research study of almost 4,000 Australian stage I and stage II melanoma patients.

Head of Victoria’s Melanoma Service, A/Prof John Kelly, said many of the patients who where not returning for check-ups lived a long way from treatment centres and may be in denial about the severity of their illness.

“Even among patients with more dangerous disease, there’s still a significant rate of non-compliance,” A/Prof Kelly said.

After five years study data identified a further decrease in compliance levels, with only 13 per cent of stage I melanoma patients attending the recommended six-monthly follow up visit to their GP, and only four per cent of stage II patients reportedly attended the recommended four-month check-ups.

To learn more about the recommended check-ups for melanoma patients, view the NHMRC guidelines here.