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Dermatol Ther. 2006 Jan-Feb;19(1):32-9.

Cutaneous melanoma: making a clinical diagnosis, present and future.

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Sydney Melanoma Diagnostic Center, Cancer Center, University of Sydney, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.


The minimum requirement for the general dermatologist for clinically assessing pigmented skin lesions is dermoscopy. In expert hands, this technique has been shown to improve both the sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of melanoma. This is also reflected by lower benign melanoma excision ratios and decreased excision rates. Evidence is mounting for the routine use of total body skin photography for patients with a very high risk of developing cutaneous melanoma. Both long-term (12 months) and short-term (3 months) digital dermoscopy monitoring has been shown to allow the detection of dermoscopically featureless melanoma and is central for the clinical assessment of melanocytic lesions at the Sydney Melanoma Diagnostic Center. The use of automated instruments for the diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma is still in an experimental phase, and its utility is dependent on the evidence that such instruments give a clinically useful expert second opinion. Currently, other noninvasive diagnostic techniques, such as in vivo confocal scanning laser microscopy, are reserved for clinical research settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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