MelaTools Programme

MelaTools is a research programme that aims to optimise early diagnosis of melanoma in primary care in the UK. It is comprised of a set of studies that aim to improve timely diagnosis of melanoma through optimisation of GP and patient assessment of pigmented skin lesions ('skin lesion' is a medical term for a patch, spot, lump or any other abnormality on otherwise normal skin).


MelaTools-Q aimed to estimate the prevalence of patients at above population risk of melanoma by surveying 4,000 people attending ten general practices in the East of England. We used an iPad-based method to obtain questionnaire data using a validated clinical risk estimation tool.

Risk prediction models for melanoma systematic literature review

This was a systematic review that aimed to identify research studies reporting or validating models to predict risk of developing melanoma.


MelaTools-eCDS is a non-randomised before-and-after study design across all English general practices to compare melanoma thickness at diagnosis in patients referred from general practices before and after the introduction of the melanoma electronic decision support tool (eCDS tool). The embedding of the melanoma eCDS in general practice software is developed by Macmillan Cancer Support via the BMJ/Informatica platform.


MelaTools-I will explore GPs' and patients' views on the use of the melanoma eCDS during a consultation. A variety of stakeholders will be interviewed to understand a wide range of perspectives on the tool.

Review of smartphone apps

Online smartphone application ('app') stores were reviewed for apps related to the detection of melanoma, which were aimed at general community, patient and generalist clinician users for skin self-monitoring.


MelaTools-Apps aims to understand community user views on the usefulness and usability of apps for skin self-monitoring. Around fifty participants at above population risk of melanoma will be recruited from two mid-Essex GP practices. They will be invited to attend a workshop and use the apps for three months, completing a diary after one and two months and an interview at the end of the study.

MelaTools-Skin Self-Monitoring trial

The trial will be an exploratory randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing use of a skin self-monitoring app with standard information among patients at above population risk of melanoma. Findings from the previous studies will underpin its design. 200 participants will be recruited from general practices in the East of England and randomised to use the app or standard information.