Dermoscopy (also called dermatoscopy), is an essential tool for dermatologists, plastic surgeons, general practitioners and other health professionals attempting the early diagnosis of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. Dermoscopy evaluates pigmented lesions and thus identifies the abnormal structural features of melanoma. Borderline lesions may be closely observed and benign lesions can be confidently diagnosed without the need for biopsy. Dermoscopy is also increasingly useful in the diagnosis of non-pigmented skin lesions and inflammatory dermatoses, as well as hair diseases.
When performed by experts, dermoscopy results in the enhanced accuracy of diagnosis, with increased sensitivity and specificity for the detection of early melanoma.
Dr Howard Stevens is a Consultant Dermatologist specialising in skin cancer diagnosis and treatment. He is an expert on using dermoscopy for melanoma diagnosis and mole screening, and lectures and teaches on dermoscopy and the early detection of melanoma.