In the short time the Melanoma NZ spot check van has been on the road it has already shown its incredible potential to save lives.
The first stop on the tour of Ryman villages was at Edmund Hillary village last week which Sarah Fraser, Melanoma New Zealand’s Corporate Partnerships Manager, described as a ‘great day!’
The Melanoma NZ team held an informative presentation for residents to explain what to look out for while nurse Gill Rolfe (pictured) simultaneously starting the checks.
“We ended up doing 50 checks and found 23 suspicious lesions, four of which had characteristics of potential melanomas,” she said.
While the checks weren’t providing a diagnosis, the team strongly encouraged the residents to go for a follow up and to have regular full body skin checks.
Melanoma New Zealand Chief Executive Andrea Newland said hearing the many stories that residents shared either of their own journeys or loved ones lost to melanoma just highlighted the value of what they were doing.
It also demonstrated what a critical tool the van was in the fight to save lives from a largely preventable disease.
“We have the worst rate of melanoma in the world – more than 4000 New Zealanders are diagnosed each year with melanoma and over 300 will die from it,” she said.
“More people are dying from skin cancer in New Zealand than on our roads.”
They are now looking forward to getting back on the road to visit the next Ryman villages, Covid-permitting.
The brand-new van, which was donated by Ryman Healthcare, was launched to the public at Mission Bay two weeks ago, and was even featured on TVOne’s Seven Sharp.
Ryman Healthcare Corporate Affairs Manager David King was delighted to hear the results from the first visit of a potentially game-changing initiative.
As well as the general public and residents, spot checks on the van could be life-saving for Ryman workers too.
“Our team includes a large number of builders and gardeners who work outdoors, so we are encouraging them to have a spot check along with our residents,” he said.