If In Doubt Cut It Out

New guidelines suggest excising a changing skin lesion after one month

As with facing an exam where you haven’t studied, or finding yourself naked in a public place – missing a melanoma diagnosis is the stuff of nightmares for most GPs.

In a condition where the prognosis can vary dramatically according to a fraction of a millimetre, the importance of early detection is well-known and keenly felt by clinicians.

According to new guidelines published in the MJA, Australian doctors’ ability to detect classical melanomas early has been improving as evidenced by both the average thickness of the tumour when it is excised and the improved mortality rates associated with these types of tumours.

Unfortunately, however the atypical melanomas are still proving a challenge. Whether they be nodular, occurring in ...


Mar VJ, Chamberlain AJ, Kelly JW, Murray WK, Thompson JF. Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of melanoma: melanomas that lack classical clinical features. Med J Aust. 2017 Oct 16; 207(8): 348-50. DOI: 10.5694/mja17.00123

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