Clinical Recognition of Melanoma in Dermatologists and Nondermatologists

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Abstract

Background:

The incidence of melanoma is increasing annually in Canada.

Objectives:

This retrospective study was designed to assess the ability of physicians of different specialties to accurately recognize melanoma.

Methods:

Pathology reports of biopsies submitted to Vancouver Coastal Health with clinical diagnoses of melanoma were reviewed (January to July 2013). The clinical diagnoses made by dermatologists, general practitioners and family physicians, and all other specialists were correlated with the final histopathologic diagnoses.

Results:

The dermatologists, general practitioners and family physicians, and all other specialists achieved diagnostic accuracies of 24.75%, 3.52%, and 12.75%, respectively.

Conclusions:

Although the diagnostic accuracy of dermatologists was significantly better than that the other practitioners, the majority of patients with suspicious skin lesions present to family physicians or general practitioners first. Thus, there is considerable value in providing more training and education to nondermatologists, because it can have a meaningful impact on patient care.

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