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Medical Resident Skin Cancer Exam Training Evaluated

Study suggests screening can be done as part of routine patient consultations

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Medical students and residents do not get consistent access to training in how to conduct a skin cancer examination, and need more education on how to look for skin cancer during routine medical examinations, according to a study published in the October issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Emily Wise, M.D., of the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a survey of 342 residents in one of four residency programs in the fields of family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, and other specialties to find out how often they underwent skin cancer examination training.

When asked about their residency period, 75.8 percent of respondents said they had not received any skin cancer examination training, while 55.3 percent had never seen a doctor perform one, and 57.4 percent had never practiced one, the researchers found. However, those with as little as four examinations under their belt reported higher skill levels, the investigators note.

"Residency programs and medical schools may have neither the time nor the infrastructure to teach an expert, comprehensive examination to all physicians in training," the authors write. "However, the basic ability to recognize potentially suspicious lesions and triage persons with such lesions should be a vital and key component of both training programs."

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