Results from a recent study suggest that an inexpensive and affordable solution for early melanoma detection should be implemented in clinical practice.
Early detection and diagnosis of melanoma in Stage 0 or Stage 1 can increase survival rate to as much as 98%, demonstrating the importance of improving melanoma detection methods.
Researchers from the United States have found that advanced use of a dermatoscope by primary care physicians can not only improve early detection of melanoma but also reduce the need for lesion biopsies. The study was published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
A dermatoscope is a simple instrument that can magnify a physician’s view of a lesion by 10 times, allowing for more accurate inspection that is free of skin surface reflection. Dermatoscopes are relatively inexpensive, available from as little as $500, making it an affordable tool for every clinical practice. Researchers also noted that when diagnosing melanoma, accuracy can be up to four times greater when using a dermatoscope, compared with the naked eye.
Typically, non-dermatology practices rely on biopsies in order to differentiate benign nevi from malignant melanoma. The use of dermatoscopes in every practice could reduce both the cost of biopsies and patient discomfort associated with the procedure. Training courses for proficient dermatoscope use are available in different formats such as one- or two-day courses, or as minimal as a 12-hour online program.
According to the researchers, training physicians in the use of dermatoscopes could improve prognosis and survival rates due to earlier melanoma detection, reducing the need for extensive treatment procedures.
Written by Anna Otvodenko
Marghoob, N., Liopyris, K. and Jaimes, N. (2019). Dermoscopy: A Review of the Structures That Facilitate Melanoma Detection. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 119(6), p.380.
EurekAlert!. (2019). Inexpensive equipment and training can improve melanoma detection and reduce biopsies. [online] Available at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-07/aoa-iea062819.php [Accessed 2 Jul. 2019].
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