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Research summary: Dermatologist melanoma diagnosis without photographic surveillance

This month we further explore the topic of Total Body Photography (TBP) and its role in skin cancer (especially melanoma) surveillance, identification and diagnosis. The topic is important and rapidly developing, and it has supporters on all sides.

For more information on this topic, you may be interested in the HealthCert Professional Diploma in Skin Cancer Medicine: medical courses online + with optional workshops ideal for GP training towards skin cancer subspecialisation.

It seems obvious that taking photographs and having software or artificial intelligence run over the images must be a good thing. Studies have been done, of course, and there is some compelling data. However, definitive data is lacking because controlled studies are lacking. Simply put, the ideal study would compare normal care against normal care with TBP.

This latest paper from Brown et al in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology is quite intriguing. Data from a specialist dermatology practice in Brisbane provides data that shows a much higher number of in situ melanomas (and ratio to invasive) than those reported in TBP studies.

It is also instructive to read that about half of all melanomas (in situ and invasive) were diagnosed through shave biopsy usually done at the time of the consultation.

A fascinating paper reporting on real-world, real-life practice. Worth a careful read and reflection.

Read the full paper here.

– Prof David Wilkinson

For further information on this topic, you may be interested in the HealthCert Professional Diploma in Skin Cancer Medicine.

Read more from Professor David Wilkinson on recent research:

One comment on “Research summary: Dermatologist melanoma diagnosis without photographic surveillance

  1. Anyone who is interested in TBP and SDDI might be interested in answering this questionnaire. Link at the bottom, all anonymous

    Dear Colleagues,

    You are invited to participate in a survey asking about your opinions and experience in skin cancer diagnosis, treatment and new technologies.

    The last thirty years have seen a large increase in patient awareness and clinician interest in melanoma surveillance. This has resulted in a large proportion of the Australian population having skin checks. The number of clinicians actively involved in the diagnosis and management of melanoma has greatly increased with many more melanomas being excised, especially in situ melanomas. This has been in both absolute terms and per 100,000 population. There has been no significant accompanying reduction in the incidence of metastasis. Recent reductions in mortality can largely be attributed to improved treatments from oncology.

    Surveys completed prior to the 25th March 2023 will be used to help guide the discussion in a forum, on the Saturday afternoon ,when we will have a clinical pathological session, in the upcoming Australasian Melanoma Conference (AMC) 2023 being hosted in Brisbane, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. This conference brings together clinicians, researchers, and consumers to discuss topical and current issues, opinion and education in melanoma diagnosis and treatment.

    Please only answer this survey once. All answers are de-identified, anonymous and your personal details are not recorded. The survey will take around ten minutes of your time. We have ethics approval to do this de-identified survey and hope to publish the results in a journal in the future. Responses will continue to be collected, to be included in a publication, until 30th April 2023.

    Survey link:


    Thank you very much for your time and participating.

    Duncan Lambie, David Whiteman, Jim Muir, Brian De’Ambrosis, Charlotte Cox

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