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Scanning technique aids GP melanoma detection

GPs can dramatically improve their detection of malignant melanomas using a new electronic scanning technique, researchers report.

A study of 600 lesions presented to GPs found the technique ­ called siascopy ­ doubled the sensitivity of detection and improved specificity.

Standard GP assessment detected 'suspicious' lesions with a sensitivity of 42 per cent and a specificity of 81 per cent.

But siascopy, which involves shining a light through the skin to project a physical map on to a laptop of pigment, blood and collagen, improved sensitivity to 81 per cent and specificity to 94 per cent ­ comparable with expert dermoscopy.

Study leader Judith Hunter, a research fellow in plastic sur-gery at Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge, said siascopy had been available in secondary care for around five years.

'It's very easy to use, very reproducible and could help GPs triage patients for reassurance or referral. They would need training but it would be a day. Dermoscopy is still difficult for GPs,' she added.

The study was published in a supplement of the British Journal of Dermatology last week.

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