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Visual inspection of skin cancer

Health practitioners in New York are generally aware of the dangers of skin cancer. Melanomas and other cancerous growths on the epidermis were once among the most feared diseases. Research has been conducted into common methods of early detection of skin cancer, especially visual inspection. However, the data assembled was found to be insufficiently conclusive, and experts have called for further study.

Most skin cancers do not result in fatality. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 74,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2015, but only about 10,000 of them will die from it.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has decided to look more closely into the practices by which these cancers are detected. It studied cases where medical professionals used visual inspection of the patient's entire body to detect nascent skin cancers. Its report said that it was unable to show conclusively that possible skin cancers detected by eye led to more positive outcomes for their patients. The group feels that further research is warranted. Until then, patients are encouraged to partner actively with their doctor in order to minimize the risk of melanoma and non-melanoma cancers of the skin.

An incorrect diagnosis of conditions such as skin cancer can lead to serious problems if a real condition goes untreated or if a harmless condition is misidentified as requiring surgical intervention. A misdiagnosis has the potential to dramatically alter the quality of life of the patient in question. Those whose conditions have worsened as a result of such an error may want to discuss their available remedies with a medical malpractice attorney.

Article Source Web Link: AAFP, "Evidence Lacking to Recommend Visual Skin Cancer Screening", Chris Crawford, Dec. 7, 2015

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