The Front Line Against Skin Cancer in New Zealand


November 15, 2021

By Dr Hans Raetz, Skin Institute

Traditionally, General Practitioners (GPs) have been the first ‘port of call’ for the management of skin cancer, however with increasing demand for skin cancer care, a dedicated group of GPs have undergone additional specialist training to acquire advanced skills in the diagnosis and management of skin cancer, including surgical skills that require significant further education and training to acquire. These GPs are termed ‘Skin Cancer Doctors’ and posses a professional skill set that differentiates them from generalist GPs who have not completed advanced training in skin cancer.

In New Zealand, no specific benchmark exists as to what constitutes a ‘Skin Cancer Doctor’ and this has led to confusion in the sector and lack of recognition by health insurers. A robust and clear standard is long overdue and as such this is one of he main drivers for the formation of the New Zealand Skin Cancer Doctor Society (NZSCD) in mid 2017, which has a clear mandate to achieve this. Another important focus for NZSCD is to enable collaboration, credentialing, on-going education and professional support for New Zealand Skin Cancer Doctors and Skin Cancer Professionals. NZSCD also aims to facilitate best practice skin cancer care through strong engagement with patients.

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