According to the Hunter Melanoma Foundation (HMF), one in two Australians will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Each year about 3,000 people in NSW are diagnosed with melanoma, and the Hunter Region has one of the highest incidences of melanoma in the world.
Since 2006, University of Newcastle Research Fellow Dr Nikola Bowden has developed a research interest with the overall aim of delivering personalised diagnosis and treatment to patients with cancer, with a more focused interest in investigating DNA repair in melanoma.
Dr Bowden has been bringing her expert knowledge to the Hunter Melanoma Foundation for the past two years, becoming involved with HMF as well as the support group Hunter Melanoma Hub so that she could discuss her research with those most closely affected by melanoma.
Dr Bowden’s strong commitment to raising awareness and promoting medical research in the community has been a contributing factor to her work with the foundation.
“It has been two-way information sharing,” she says. “I inform them about current research discoveries in melanoma, including my own research and they provide me with feedback on the relevance of my research from a patient’s perspective.”
The relationship is beneficial for all involved. Dr Bowden is incredibly grateful that HMF now supports a PhD scholarship in her team and has funded some vital pieces of equipment for their lab.
“The Hunter Melanoma Foundation helps me and I hope that I help them, and the wider community, to understand what is happening in melanoma research,” she says.