Improving diagnostic accuracy for suspicious melanocytic skin lesions: New Australian melanoma clinical practice guidelines stress the importance of clinician/pathologist communication

Aust J Gen Pract. 2019 Jun;48(6):357-362. doi: 10.31128/AJGP-11-18-4759.


Background: Incorrect or delayed diagnosis of melanoma may lead to inappropriate treatment, poor clinical outcomes, increased cost and medicolegal consequences. The provision of pertinent clinical information is essential for accurate pathological diagnosis of cutaneous melanocytic tumours. Failure to provide this information may contribute to poor outcomes.

Objective: The aim of this article is to highlight important clinical information that clinicians can provide to pathologists to facilitate accurate diagnosis of melanocytic tumours.

Discussion: Pertinent clinical information includes patient age, sex, tumour site, specimen orientation (if appropriate), history of the lesion, presence of any clinically or dermoscopically suspicious areas within the lesion (including apparent regression), access to any relevant clinical and/or dermoscopic photographs and prior pathology reports, melanoma history and risk factors, and history of concurrent or recent pregnancy. If the clinical features are not concordant with the pathology findings, the clinician and pathologist should discuss the case to identify the reason for incongruence.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Melanoma / diagnosis
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Referral and Consultation / standards*
  • Referral and Consultation / trends
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*