Agreement between dermatologists and primary care practitioners in the diagnosis of malignant melanoma: review of the literature.
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BACKGROUND: The incidence of melanoma continues to rise in the developed world. It is therefore essential for primary care practitioners (PCPs) to be able to discriminate between malignant and benign cutaneous findings, as most patients present to PCPs first for examination of suspicious lesions. OBJECTIVE: To compare dermatologists and PCPs in the diagnosis of malignant melanoma. METHODS: Prospective studies published from January 1950 to August 2010 in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and CancerLit databases were examined. Relevant medical search terms, discussed amongst the authors, were entered into the databases. Only articles comparing dermatologists and PCPs in the diagnosis of malignant melanoma were selected. RESULTS: Dermatologists were reported as having sensitivities, specificities, and diagnostic accuracies ranging from 0.74 to 1.00, 0.56 to 0.95, and 0.85 to 0.89, respectively. PCPs had sensitivities, specificities, and diagnostic accuracies ranging from 0.25 to 0.88, 0.26 to 0.71, and 0.49 to 0.80, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: PCPs should receive more training to improve their ability in the diagnosis of malignant melanoma.
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