Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence of melanoma in the world. In Australia itself, melanoma is the third most common cancer in both men and women. Reducing mortality from melanoma is highly dependent upon early diagnosis. The SolarScan system is a skin cancer diagnostic system which was developed by Polartechnics Ltd, the Sydney Melanoma Unit and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation). It assists in making fast and accurate assessments of sunspots and is cheap and very easy to use.

If detected early, the cure rate for melanoma is almost 100 per cent. Late detection, when the melanoma is more than three millimetres deep, results in only a 59 per cent survival rate.

SolarScan captures and analyses calibrated images of pigmented skin lesions that are stored for subsequent lesion monitoring or confirmation. The SolarScan camera has an integrated light source and employs a three CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) video camera for enhanced colour resolution. Each image is calibrated to a common reference standard to ensure image reproducibility.

SolarScan is designed for ease of use in a busy practice. Its efficient user interface allows rapid acquisition and processing of patient and lesion data. Users do not need computer or technical skills in image processing or threshold setting. SolarScan has a simple point and click interface, such as automatically fitting borders to lesions.

SolarScan will also save money by reducing the number of unnecessary surgical procedures. Almost 750,000 skin cancer removal operations are completed each year, costing Australian taxpayers more than $300 million.

SolarScan will ensure more accurate melanoma diagnosis so that fewer people have to undergo unnecessary biopsies.