What PCPs need to know about early detection of serious skin conditions

Source: Healio, May 2018

Primary care physicians are responsible for detecting and managing a wide variety of conditions, and for some patients, the PCP may be the only doctor they visit with regularity. Because early detection of serious skin conditions like melanoma is crucial to preventing its spread and possible mortality, PCPs can play an important role as the first clinician to see signs of this potentially deadly disease.

According to a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, skin care screenings performed as part of a routine PCP visit resulted in increased detection of melanoma in situ, a precursor of melanoma that is not competent for metastasis.

“Because the skin is our largest organ, and because the skin is visually possible to inspect in routine clinical examinations, I personally believe that a patient’s annual examination by their primary care physician is incomplete without a survey of the skin,” John M. Kirkwood, MD, professor of medicine, dermatology and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and director of the Melanoma Center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, told Healio Family Medicine.

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