Teledermoscopy for Skin Cancer Prevention: A Comparative Study of Clinical and Teledermoscopic Diagnosis

Acta Inform Med. 2020 Mar;28(1):37-41. doi: 10.5455/aim.2020.28.37-41.


Introduction: The number of newly diagnosed skin cancers per year is greater than the sum of the four most common cancers: breast, prostate, lung, and colon. The implementation of primary and secondary prevention measures, over the last 2 to 3 decades, has made a major contribution to successful treatment.

Aim: Evaluate the accuracy and reliability of teledermoscopic versus clinical diagnosis for skin cancers when diagnostic algorithms are used, and when GPs and surgical specialties are involved in the clinical procedure.

Methods: Digital dermoscope (TS-DD, by Teleskin company) was used for the acquisition of teledermoscopic photographs and specialized teledermoscopic software was used for clinical examination and teledermoscopic consultation. The teledermoscopic procedure itself was performed in two steps. The first step was a clinical examination using the ABCDE rule with digital dermoscopic photography of the suspected lesion. The second step was a 2-step dermoscopic evaluation using the second step ABCD algorithm for the second step. Accuracy and diagnostic reliability were calculated for: teledermoscopic diagnosis versus histopathological diagnosis; clinical diagnosis versus histopathological diagnosis and teledermoscopic diagnosis versus clinical diagnosis.

Results: The study included 120 patients with 121 Pigmented Skin Lesions, of which 75 (62%) were benign and 46 (38%) were malignant lesions (6 melanomas and 40 NonMelanoma Skin Cancers). Diagnostic accuracy between teledermoscopic and histopathologic diagnosis was 90.91% and reliability k=0.81; between clinical and histopathological diagnosis the diagnostic accuracy was 82.64% and the reliability k=0.64 and between the clinical and teledermoscopic diagnosis the diagnostic accuracy was 81.82% and the reliability k=0.62.

Conclusion: The achieved diagnostic accuracy between clinical and teledermoscopic diagnosis, when using diagnostic algorithms, establishes a feasible screening path for skin cancers and indicates that general practitioners and specialized surgeons may equally be involved in prevention.

Keywords: prevention; skin cancers; teledermoscopy.