BACKGROUND: Dermoscopy is a widely used technique that can increase the sensitivity and specificity of melanoma detection. Information is lacking on the impact of dermoscopy use on the detection of melanoma in the real-life practice of European dermatologists.
OBJECTIVE: To identify factors that influence the benefit of using dermoscopy for increasing melanoma detection and lowering the number of unnecessary biopsies in the practice of European dermatologists.
METHODS: We conducted a survey of dermatologists registered in 32 European countries regarding the following: the demographic and practice characteristics, dermoscopy training and use, opinions on dermoscopy and the self-estimated impact of dermoscopy use on the number of melanomas detected and the number of unnecessary biopsies performed in practice.
RESULTS: Valid answers were collected for 7480 respondents, of which 6602 reported using dermoscopy. Eighty-six per cent of dermoscopy users reported that dermoscopy increased the numbers of melanomas they detected, and 70% reported that dermoscopy decreased the number of unnecessary biopsies of benign lesions they performed. The dermatologists reporting these benefits were more likely to have received dermoscopy training during residency, to use dermoscopy frequently and intensively, and to use digital dermoscopy systems and pattern analysis compared to dermatologists who did not perceive any benefit of dermoscopy for the melanoma recognition in their practice.
CONCLUSIONS: Improving dermoscopy training, especially during residency and increasing access to digital dermoscopy equipment are important paths to enhance the benefit of dermoscopy for melanoma detection in the practice of European dermatologists.