top of page

New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma in the world with 6000 melanomas being diagnosed in New Zealand every year.

The earlier it is recognised, the more likely it will be curable.  It can be a very aggressive cancer so it is important to seek medical attention early and check your skin regularly.

What to look out for when checking your skin

Change in size, shape or colour of an existing mole, or the appearance of a new mole is often the first sign of a melanoma.  If a mole stands out or looks different to other moles near by, it is called an ugly duckling, and may represent a melanoma.  Check for any of the ABCDEFG signs. If you have any concerns, see your GP and be referred to a surgeon urgently.


What to expect in the clinic

Dr Mooney will look at the mole with a dermatoscope (a skin surface microscope).  If she is concerned for melanoma, she will recommend and excision biopsy .  The mole will be analysed by a pathologist in the lab using a microscope, who will confirm the diagnosis and assess its stage (if it is a melanoma).


Most melanomas, require a further skin excision to reduce any cancer cells being left on the skin.  This is called a wide local excision.

Treatment options

There are several treatments for melanoma. Recommended treaments depend on the stage of the melanoma and the exact diagnosis.  These include surgery, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.  There have been significant advances in melanoma treatment in the last 10 years.

Risk Factors

Anyone in New Zealand can develop skin cancer but your risk is increased if you have:

  • >50 years old

  • A Personal or family history of melanoma or skin cancer

  • Fair skin that burns easily

  • Red, blonde or fair hair

  • Skin damage due to sunburn

  • Sunbed use (more than 10 sessions)

  • Many moles or large moles (50+)

  • High doses of sun exposure e.g. during a holiday and recreational activity with continuous sun exposure

  • Immuno-suppression and use of certain medication


Patient Support

  • Melanoma Support New Zealand (private Facebook group)

  • Cancer Society New Zealand

  • CanTeen

  • Financial Support

  • Keytruda Kiwis (private Facebook group)

  • Lifeline

  • Look Good Feel Better

  • Lymphoedema Support Network

Clinical Trials

  • Clinical Trials

  • Melanoma and Skin Cancer Trials

bottom of page