Most Melanomas Found Are Dermatologist Initiated

Patient complaints are not the most usual reason for detection of skin cancers

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Routine full-body skin checks by dermatologists detect more melanomas at an earlier stage than investigations as a result of patient complaints, according to a study in the August issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Jonathan Kantor, M.D., and Deborah E. Kantor, M.S.N., of North Florida Dermatology Associates in Jacksonville, conducted a study of patients with 126 melanomas, including 75 melanomas in situ and 51 invasive melanomas.

In all, the researchers found that 56.3 percent of melanomas were dermatologist-detected secondary to the presenting complaint, and for melanomas in situ, the proportion rose to 60.0 percent. Melanomas detected by dermatologists were also considerably more likely to be thinner, the investigators note.

"We hope that these findings will help spur large population-based studies in high-risk populations to develop an evidence-based approach to determining appropriate screening practices and intervals," the authors write. "Although the most recent update from the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force again found the evidence insufficient to recommend for or against routine melanoma screening, this recommendation applies to screening by primary care physicians, not examination of high-risk patients by dermatologists."

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Jane Parry

Jane Parry

Published on August 20, 2009

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