New Zealand’s Skin Cancer Epidemic


April 9, 2024


New Zealand’s Skin Cancer Epidemic

Providing Best Practice

By Dr Chris Boberg
GP, President of the New Zealand Skin Cancer Doctor Society

Dr Chris Boberg, one of New Zealand’s leading skin cancer experts, had the below article featured in the January 2024 edition of GP Voice by The Royal College of General Practitioners. This provided a summary of the healthcare costs of skin cancers in Aotearoa New Zealand, and an introduction to NZSCD.

Click here to read the full January 2024 edition of GP Voice where the article features on page 27-28 continue reading below:

The New Zealand Skin Cancer Doctor Society (NZSCD Society) was established in 2017 by a group of GP skin cancer surgeons. The main drivers were the growing skin cancer epidemic and the need for cost-effective and efficient community skin cancer services.

In Aotearoa New Zealand each year it is estimated that:

  • 90,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed, with an estimated health care cost of $129.4 million.
  • About 2,800 invasive melanomas are diagnosed, with estimated health care costs of $54.5 million.
  • Over 4,000 people are found to have in situ melanoma (melanoma that has not spread to other parts of the body).

In fact, more New Zealanders die from melanoma than die on our roads each year and by 2025 it is expected that the total cost of skin cancer treatment will grow to $295 million.

Are you concerned about missing a melanoma in your patients? Join a complimentary course on the basics of dermatoscopy and diagnosing melanomas. It is a superb resource and is designed for busy GPs.

Learning how to use the stethoscope of the skin – a dermatoscope – is the best way to ensure you find melanomas at the early survivable stage.

Another reason was the increasing research-based proof that the diagnosis of melanoma can be made with greater sensitivity and specificity by those
proficient in dermatoscopy. As such, NZSCD aims to facilitate and support those who want to understand more about dermatoscopy.

It is now highly recommended (by most guidelines) for all practitioners involved in skin cancer care to be competent in using a dermatoscope.

NZSCD provides support to all health care providers involved in the management of skin cancer. Becoming an Associate member requires no prior training but gives you full access to a WhatsApp forum where you can post questions/ask for advice and much more. The group is very supportive and includes GPs, GPwSI in skin cancer and several surgeons, pathologists etc.

To date, NZSCD, in its fourth year since inception, has over 70 members and has established validation criteria for all skin cancer training courses (in conjunction with Southern Cross) to enable credentialling and accreditation to full membership for those who wish to make skin cancer a major part of their practice. Many will prefer to be Associate members and enjoy peer support and educational opportunities. If you decide to become a full member at any time, you can study and work toward full member accreditation. You can apply directly for full membership if you have already met the accreditation requirements.

NZSCD also provides all members access to virtual CMEs from world-leading experts, the opportunity to connect with other members for closer one-on-one support, assistance with facility accreditation, training guidance and mentoring and an annual networking conference.

We have also developed positive relationships with the medical insurers and now most recognize NZSCD-accredited members and fund most procedures under the ‘specialist’ arm of their policies.

NZSCD has a vibrant and innovative executive team of experienced doctors who are also FRNZCGP: Drs Andrew MacGill, Antony Tam, Neil Anderson, Marcus Platts-Mills, Chris Boberg and Megan Reilly who meet monthly.

Become A Member

Join NZSCD for collaboration, credentialing, ongoing education and professional support for New Zealand Skin Cancer Doctors and Skin Cancer Professionals.



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