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Wednesday 26th October 2016

GP skin cancer op concern

15th July 2008

According to information shared at the British Association of Dermatologists Annual Meeting in Liverpool, GPs are removing serious skin cancers in their surgeries.


The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) said in 2006 that doctors who had been trained could excise "basal cell carcinomas".

NICE said that doctors needed to work in tandem with dermatologists to ensure that more serious forms of skin cancer - such as malignant melanoma - were referred upwards.

Studies presented at the conference have indicated that this guidance could have been ignored and GPs may not have the necessary expertise to ensure the skin cancer is removed in its entirety.

Scottish guidance has indicated that serious cases of the cancers should be urgently referred to hospital.

A study from Derbyshire revealed that "nearly a third" of skin cancers which had been cut out by GPs had not been excised throughly enough.

Another study showed that 14% of skin cancer biopsies sent by doctors to a London hospital were "high risk".

Of 80 patients in Norfolk who had melanoma, 13% had their cancers taken out incompletely by GPs.

Dr David Shuttleworth, the clinical vice-president of the British Association of Dermatologists, called for extra training for GPs: "Incomplete excision of melanoma makes it more difficult to establish the true depth of the tumour, which in turn makes it trickier to plan the surgery and give a precise diagnosis.

"In the case of melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma, the cancer could recur if not fully removed.

"Incomplete excision of course also delays definitive treatment and causes additional worry to the patient."


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Thursday 17th July 2008 @ 4:06

When I had a problem, my GP declined to do it himself and sent me off to a dermatalogist. It wasn't cancer after all, but I appreciated the caution.

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