Study raises concern over accuracy of melanoma diagnoses

Source: EurekAlert, June 2017

Concerns over the accuracy of melanoma diagnoses are raised in a study of US pathologists published by The BMJ today.

The results show that diagnoses can vary among pathologists, particularly for cases in the middle of the disease spectrum, suggesting the potential for both overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops from skin cells called melanocytes. Diagnosis relies on visual assessment of skin samples (biopsies) under a microscope by a pathologist, but the reliability of the criteria used to diagnose these skin lesions have never been established with rigorous standards.

Previous studies have suggested high levels of diagnostic disagreement among pathologists when interpreting melanocytic lesions, but results are conflicting.

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