This month we consider skin self-examination for skin cancer detection. In the latest Melanoma Practice Review my eye was drawn to a paper published in Dermatology reporting on the sensitivity and specificity of self-examination for melanoma.
I think we all know that about half of melanomas are detected by a patient or carer and half by a doctor.
This study shows a sensitivity of 59 per cent and specificity of 82 per cent. This resonates with previous findings, and I think it is important because it strengthens the importance of patients being active participants in their care.
I have tweaked my practice a little – I now urge patients to monitor their own skin, and I tell them "if you see something you don’t like the look of, research tells us you are probably right, so let me see it and check it for you".
- Prof David Wilkinson