Background: Early detection of malignant melanoma of the skin is the most important factor in patient survival. Naked-eye diagnostic sensitivity and specificity are low. Patients with multiple nevi are at high risk to develop melanomas and the clinical follow-up of such patients is difficult, resulting in missed melanomas on the one hand and unnecessary biopsies on the other.
Objectives: To describe the set-up of a special clinic aimed at early detection of melanoma and follow-up of high risk patients and preliminary results from 20 months of operation.
Methods: We established a pigmented lesions clinic based on a digital photography studio enabling documentation and comparison over time of full body photography and dermoscopy.
Results: In the first 20 months of work, 895 patients were seen, 206 of them for follow-up visits. A total of 29,254 photos were taken. Altogether, 236 lesions were suspicious (either clinically or dermoscopically) and the patients were advised to excise them. Seven melanomas were found in this initial examination (which did not include long-term follow-up).
Conclusions: With multimode photographic cutaneous surveillance, early detection of melanoma in high risk patients has been reported. Our clinic utilizes the same techniques and diagnostic algorithm as other leading clinics throughout the world, thus enabling us to deliver better follow-up for those patients.