Public Health and Primary CareReview Article

Dermoscopy: A Review of the Structures That Facilitate Melanoma Detection

Nadeem G. Marghoob, OMS III; Konstantinos Liopyris, MD; and Natalia Jaimes, MD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: January 7, 2019

Accepted: January 31, 2019

Published: June 1, 2019

J Osteopath Med; 119(6): 380-390

Melanoma is currently the fifth most common cancer in the United States, resulting in more than 9000 deaths each year. Despite numerous improvements in the management of advanced melanoma, the cornerstone to ensuring a cure remains early detection. Both patient and physician awareness regarding the signs and symptoms of early melanoma remain paramount. As a result, much effort has been and continues to be expended in developing and refining effective diagnostic algorithms to help identify melanomas and differentiate them from nevi, such as the ABCDE rule (A for asymmetry, B for border irregularity, C for color variegation, D for diameter >6 mm, and E for evolution in lesion size, shape, or color). To assist in the detection of more subtle melanomas requires technology to augment a visual examination. Toward this end, a simple instrument called a dermatoscope has transformed not only the appreciation of the morphology of melanoma but also its growth dynamics. The discipline of dermoscopy has improved the detection of melanoma and other skin cancers, has resulted in the detection of thinner melanomas, and has helped improve the ability to differentiate nevi (benign lesions) from melanomas, which, in turn, has resulted in fewer biopsies of benign lesions. Since patients often first present to their primary care physicians for their health-related concerns, it is imperative that primary care physicians be able to recognize the lesions that are suspicious for melanoma. This review is intended to introduce osteopathic physicians to the dermoscopic features associated primarily with melanomas located on nonglabrous skin.

Read Full Article