The benefits of dermatoscopy are clear. They make the diagnosis of malignant lesions easier. For some reason, dermatoscopy isn’t part of standard GP teaching despite a lot of patients attending with moles that they want checking out. Macroscopically there are certain features of moles that make them suspicious and we all learn these. If in doubt we often biopsy or refer, though there is obviously a cost with this.
In some progressive areas and New Zealand appears to be one, though some CCGs in the UK as well, they have invested in training and teaching dermatoscopy to all GPs, in order to reduce referrals that aren’t needed and perhaps to increase ones that are. Of course, to do dermatoscopy you need some kit and perhaps the cost of this puts some off, though there always seems to be a lot of capital money to be spent at a year-end. There are lots of dermatoscopes around and lots of reviews. Some, of course, connect to an iPhone or similar and allow the easy taking of photos. These can be attached to the record or emailed/sent to experts for review – perhaps through FirstDerm or similar. Dermlite appears to be one of the big makers and they have a range of scopes from the quite affordable HUD at £80 upwards.
Should all GPs have one and be trained on them? reduced higher quality referrals and better skin cancer detection rates could be achieved.