Medicine (St Vincent's) - Theses

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    Examining non-melanoma skin cancer trends in Australia using data from Medicare Australia
    Perera, Eshini ( 2014)
    Background: Non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) are the most common cancer in Australia, costing the Australian Government $511 million in 2010. NMSC incidence studies have typically utilised face-to-face interview methods that rely on self-reporting of skin cancers. Studies overseas have employed national medical system billing data to examine trends in NMSC. The work in this thesis has adopted this novel approach for evaluating skin cancer trends. Objectives: 1. Determine the completeness of Medicare Australia (MA) in capturing skin cancer cases. 2. Examine the up-to-date incidence rates of NMSC to 2012. 3. Examine rates of recurrent and incompletely excised (residual) NMSC in Australia. Methods: Data from MA, Medicare Benefits Online and Victorian Cancer Registry (VCR) from 2004-2008 were extracted for use in this thesis. MA and VCR melanoma cases were compared. Regression and a paired-samples t-test was performed. NMSC incidence was estimated by determining the number of separate patients treated for a NMSC. The proportion of recurrences and residuals were calculated. Results: Medicare Australia data were found to correlate with the VCR data set. Incidence rates for NMSC were 856 per 105 people in 2012. This incidence was forecast to increase to 1636 per 105 in 2015. 1.54% of NMSC required treatment for a recurrence and 1.26% of NMSC required retreatment for incomplete excision. Conclusion: This thesis has contributed the following: 1. Demonstration of a correlation between MA and VCR melanoma data, suggesting that MA could potentially be used for examining trends in other skin cancers including NMSC. 2. An up-to-date incidence of NMSC in Australia to 2012. 3. Proportion of NMSC that required treatment for residual lesions. 4. Proportion of NMSC that required treatment for recurrent lesions.