Training Primary Care Physicians in Dermoscopy for Skin Cancer Detection: a Scoping Review

Jonathan A Fee, Finbar P McGrady, Cliff Rosendahl, Nigel D Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


In many countries, patients with concerning skin lesions will first consult a primary care physician (PCP). Dermoscopy has an evidence base supporting its use in primary care for skin cancer detection, but need for training has been cited as a key barrier to its use. How PCPs train to use dermoscopy is unclear. A scoping literature review was carried out to examine what is known from the published literature about PCP training in dermoscopy. The methodological steps taken in this review followed those described by Arksey and O'Malley, as revised by Levac et al. Four electronic databases were searched for evidence published up to June 2018. Sixteen articles were identified for analysis, all published since 2000. Ten training programs were identified all of which addressed dermoscopy of pigmented skin lesions, among other topics. Ten articles reported on a range of outcomes measured after training and showed generally positive results in terms of improved diagnostic performance, although no meta-analysis was conducted. However, it was unclear whether trained PCPs continued to use dermoscopy after training. Observational questionnaire data revealed that many PCPs use dermoscopy in practice without any formal training. The literature generally supports the use of dermoscopy by PCPs, but it is unclear whether current training leads to long-term change in PCPs' use of dermoscopy in clinical practice. Understanding this problem, as well as exploring PCPs' training needs, is essential to develop training programs that will facilitate the uptake and use of dermoscopy in primary care.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cancer education : the official journal of the American Association for Cancer Education
Early online date02 Dec 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 02 Dec 2019


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