Viewing Exemplars of Melanomas and Benign Mimics of Melanoma Modestly Improves Diagnostic Skills in Comparison with the ABCD Method and Other Image-based Methods for Lay Identification of Melanoma

Feb 14, 2015




Using an experimental task in which lay persons were asked to distinguish between 30 images of melanomas and common mimics of melanoma, we compared various training strategies including the ABC(D) method, use of images of both melanomas and mimics of melanoma, and alternative methods of choosing training image exemplars. Based on a sample size of 976 persons, and an online experimental task, we show that all the positive training approaches increased diagnostic sensitivity when compared with no training, but only the simultaneous use of melanoma and benign exemplars, as chosen by experts, increased specificity and diagnostic accuracy. The ABCD method and use of melanoma exemplar images chosen by laypersons decreased specificity in comparison with the control. The method of choosing exemplar images is important. The levels of change in performance are however very modest, with an increase in accuracy between control and best-performing strategy of only 9%.

Ella Cornell, Karen Robertson, Robert D. McIntosh, Jonathan L. Rees

Paper online at Acta. PDF here.

Post by Jonathan Rees

Clinical academic and skin watcher at the University of Edinburgh

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