Are you using the best method for detecting skin cancers?

Dermoscopes get the thumbs up, but Cochrane reviewers warn against smartphone apps

A variety of technologies used in detecting skin cancers including dermoscopy, smart phones and a new infrared light technique have been assessed in a collection of 11 Cochrane systematic reviews.

The suite of reviews evaluates various approaches for diagnosing three categories of skin cancer: cutaneous melanoma, keratinocyte skin cancer, and all types of skin cancer combined.

The reviewers, led by Dr Jac Dinnes from University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research, have found dermoscopy is a valuable addition to aid diagnosing, and is significantly more accurate than visual inspection alone for detecting melanomas.

It increases the sensitivity and specificity by 16% and 20%, respectively, over in-person visual inspection, and by 34% and 40%, respectively, over image-based visual inspection.

Dermoscopy would, therefore, reduce the number of melanomas missed for a