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Study Assesses Incomplete Skin Cancer Excisions

General practitioners' rate of incomplete excisions similar to findings of previous research

TUESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Incomplete excision of skin cancers by non-specialists in Australia may occur at a reasonable rate, but with wide variation between individual clinicians, according to research published in the November issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Craig Hansen, Ph.D., of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues analyzed data on 9,417 basal and squamous cell cancers excised in 15 primary care skin cancer clinics that were staffed by general practitioners with a special interest in skin cancer.

The researchers found that the overall rate of incomplete margins was 6 percent, which is comparable to, or lower than, rates reported in other studies. Incomplete excisions were more common on the head and neck. The highest rates of incompletely excised basal cell carcinomas were on the ears and nose, and the highest rates for squamous cell carcinomas were on the ears and forehead. The frequency of incomplete excisions varied widely between clinics and between physicians within clinics.

"Despite the overall incomplete rate in our study being within a reasonable standard, the large variation among physicians leads us to conclude that there remains a significant need for accredited training among the primary care work force, and, perhaps even more importantly, there needs to be national audit and performance reporting," the authors conclude.

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