Detecting Skin Cancer with Artificial Intelligence

artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence has the capacity to revolutionise skin cancer medicine, with multiple programs in development that aid in the early detection of the disease. One such program is Doctor Hazel – a platform that could someday identify cancerous moles with a success rate of 90 percent, provided it attracts enough user submissions.

Still in its infancy, Doctor Hazel was demonstrated earlier this week by a team of engineers at TechCrunch’s Disrupt San Francisco 2017 hackathon. The artificial intelligence program currently identifies cancer at an 85 percent success rate; however, the team has launched a beta and is inviting users to submit their own photos to improve the platform’s performance.

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Treating Actinic Keratosis In Primary Care

actinic keratosis

This month’s research article is a scholarly review from the British Journal of Dermatology. The topic of the article is actinic keratosis (AK), which is such a common condition – and $1 billion is spent in the US each year treating it. Continue reading “Treating Actinic Keratosis In Primary Care”

Skin Cancer Update with A/Prof Giuseppe Argenziano [September]

skin cancer update

In this skin cancer update video, Associate Professor Giuseppe Argenziano shares the results of a meta-analysis of nevus-associated melanoma. The study asked whether a nevus was a precursor lesion of melanoma.

It found that only a third of melanomas arise from a pre-existing nevus, and the majority of melanomas developed from nondysplastic nevi.

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Late Night Eating Linked to Skin Cancer

skin cancer snacking

People who snack late at night could be at higher risk of skin cancer, according to a new study from the O’Donnell Brain Institute and UC Irvine.

A study in mice found that eating at abnormal times disrupted the skin’s biological clock, including the potency of an enzyme that protects against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation in the daytime.

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Treatment for BRAF-Mutated Advanced Melanoma


The outcomes of a five-year trial investigating the efficacy and safety of the combination of a BRAF inhibitor and a MEK inhibitor treatment for advanced melanoma were recently presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Around 40 percent of patients with advanced melanoma have BRAF-mutations. While it has been known for some time that the combination of BRAF and a MEK inhibitor improves the clinical outcomes for patients with BRAF mutant metastatic melanoma compared with single-agent BRAF inhibition, this was the longest follow-up to date of any randomised trial investigating the treatment combination.

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Vitamin B3 May Help Prevent Melanoma

Prevent Melanoma

Vitamin B3 could potentially help prevent melanoma in people most at risk of developing the deadly skin cancer, according to a paper published in the Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine journal.

The paper’s author, Dr Gary Halliday, wrote that nicotinamide (or vitamin B3), was shown to reduce the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer in high-risk individuals in a clinical trial called ONTRAC.

The Professor of Dermatology at the University of Sydney believes it would be worthwhile to further determine whether the vitamin can help prevent melanoma in high-risk patients such as outdoor workers, people with fair skin, and those aged over 40.

Dr Halliday said that vitamin B3 ought to be investigated as an inexpensive way of preventing the disease in people who are most susceptible to developing it, since nicotinamide has been proven to enhance DNA repair and reduce inflammation caused by UV radiation.

While such a clinical trial would be welcomed, it is important to await the results of a study before recommending vitamin B3 as a preventative measure for melanoma, which is the fourth most common cancer in Australia.



(10 August 2017) Vitamin B may help prevent melanoma. SBS.

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Further dates and locations

Skin Cancer Update with A/Prof Giuseppe Argenziano [August]


In this skin cancer update, Associate Professor Giuseppe Argenziano discusses the findings of a study from May 2017 about the accuracy of pathologists’ diagnoses of melanoma.

The study found that the accuracy and reproducibility of the pathologists’ results were very low – in some cases, accuracy was just 25 percent.

Continue reading “Skin Cancer Update with A/Prof Giuseppe Argenziano [August]”

New Research in Immunotherapy


In recent years, cancer treatment research has focused on immunotherapy – specifically, how to mobilise the immune system to attack cancer cells. The difficulty is identifying how cancer cells manage to disarm the T-cell fighters of the immune system in the first place, and then developing drugs to restore those damaged T-cells.

Patients with incurable cancers such as advanced melanoma have shown long-term responses to checkpoint inhibitor drugs, but they only work for around sixty percent of patients. This means cancer cells still have other ways of disabling the body’s immune system that are not remedied through the use of checkpoint inhibitors.

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Court Rules GP Did Not Breach Duty of Care After Misdiagnosing Fatal Melanoma


A doctor who misdiagnosed a malignant melanoma did not breach his duty of care, even though the cancer spread and subsequently killed the patient, the NSW Court of Appeal has ruled.

Dr Steven Kelly, a Newcastle-based general practitioner, was sued by his patient, Malcolm Coote, for incorrectly diagnosing a melanoma on Mr Coote’s foot as a plantar wart. The lesion was an acral lentiginous melanoma, a rare and lethal form of skin cancer. Continue reading “Court Rules GP Did Not Breach Duty of Care After Misdiagnosing Fatal Melanoma”

Treating Melanoma in Primary Care


There is quite a lot of confusion and concern about when melanoma patients should be offered sentinel lymph node biopsy and excision. Research is continuing in this space, and two recent publications provide useful, new information for primary care doctors in Australia.

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