Atypical Moles - Article

ABSTRACT: Atypical moles can be distinguished visually by clinical features of size greater than 6 mm in diameter, color variegation, indistinct borders, and textured surface. All patients who have atypical moles should be counselled about sun avoidance, screening of family members, and regular skin checks at least once per year. Total body photography and dermoscopy can aid in regular skin monitoring for changes in atypical moles and the emergence of new lesions. The presence of multiple atypical moles increases the risk of melanoma. The greatest risk of melanoma is in patients who have more than 50 atypical moles and two or more family members with melanoma (familial atypical mole and melanoma syndrome). Atypical moles should be removed when they have features suggestive of malignant transformation. Elliptical excision is the preferred removal technique. Removing all atypical moles is neither necessary nor cost effective.

Dermoscopy: An Invaluable Tool for Evaluating Skin Lesions - Editorials

Clinical Diagnosis of Melanoma - Point-of-Care Guides

Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma: A Primary Care Perspective - Article

ABSTRACT: Cutaneous malignant melanoma accounts for 3 to 5 percent of all skin cancers and is responsible for approximately 75 percent of all deaths from skin cancer. Persons with an increased number of moles, dysplastic (also called atypical) nevi, or a family history of the disease are at increased risk compared with the general population. An important tool to assist in the evaluation of potential melanomas for patients and health care professionals is the ABCDE mnemonic, which takes into account asymmetry, border irregularities, color variation, diameter, and evolution. Any suspicious pigmented lesion should be biopsied. Appropriate methods of biopsy can vary, and include deep shave, punch, and excisional biopsy. Regardless of the procedure selected, it is essential that the size of the specimen be adequate to determine the histologic depth of lesion penetration, which is known as the Breslow depth. The Breslow depth is the most important prognostic parameter in evaluating the primary tumor. Because early detection and treatment can lead to identification of thinner lesions, which may increase survival, it is critical that physicians be comfortable with evaluating suspicious pigmented lesions and providing treatment or referral as necessary.

Dermoscopy for the Family Physician - Article

ABSTRACT: Noninvasive in vivo imaging techniques have become an important diagnostic aid for skin cancer detection. Dermoscopy, also known as dermatoscopy, epiluminescence microscopy, incident light microscopy, or skin surface microscopy, has been shown to increase the clinician’s diagnostic accuracy when evaluating cutaneous neoplasms. A handheld instrument called a dermatoscope or dermoscope, which has a transilluminating light source and standard magnifying optics, is used to perform dermoscopy. The dermatoscope facilitates the visualization of subsurface skin structures that are not visible to the unaided eye. The main purpose for using dermoscopy is to help correctly identify lesions that have a high likelihood of being malignant (i.e., melanoma or basal cell carcinoma) and to assist in differentiating them from benign lesions clinically mimicking these cancers. Colors and structures visible with dermoscopy are required for generating a correct diagnosis. Routinely using dermoscopy and recognizing the presence of atypical pigment network, blue-white color, and dermoscopic asymmetry will likely improve the observer’s sensitivity for detecting pigmented basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. A two-step algorithm based on a seven-level criterion ladder is the foundation for dermoscopic evaluation of skin lesions. The first step of the algorithm is intended to help physicians differentiate melanocytic lesions from the following nonmelanocytic lesions: dermatofibroma, basal cell carcinoma, seborrheic keratosis, and hemangioma. The second step is intended to help physicians differentiate nevi from melanoma using one of several scoring systems. From a management perspective, the two-step algorithm is intended to guide the decision-making process on whether to perform a biopsy, or to refer or reassure the patient.

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