The role of the ugly duckling sign in patient education

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Abstract

Background

The ABCDE (with A standing for asymmetry, B for border irregularity, C for color variegation, D for diameter larger than 6 mm, and E for evolution) rule for melanoma (MM) recognition is widely taught in the general population. The ugly duckling (UD) sign is an alternate MM recognition strategy that is not generally taught.

Objective

To compare the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of MM recognition with UD sign and the ABCD rule in a general population.

Methods

Participants were randomized into either the ABCD or UD arm of the study. An educational tutorial on their respective teaching method followed. Participants were subsequently tested using images of 9 lesions (7 nevi and 2 MMs) and asked to categorize each image as MM or not MM.

Results

A total of 51 participants were randomized to the ABCD group and 50 to the UD group. The sensitivity for MM recognition of both groups was similar. The specificity and accuracy for MM recognition was significantly higher (P =.02, P = .02) in the UD group.

Limitations

The E for evolution in the ABCDE rule was not tested. No follow-up knowledge retention test was conducted.

Conclusion

The UD sign significantly improved accuracy and specificity of MM recognition. We recommend adding the UD sign to patient education in addition to the traditional ABCDE rule.

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