QUESTIONS UNDER STUDY: In Switzerland, skin cancer is one of the most prevalent neoplasms. General practitioners (GPs) are often faced with suspicious skin lesions in their patients. The aim of our study was to assess GPs' competence to diagnose skin cancer and to examine whether this can be improved by a one-day dermatologic education programme.
METHODS: Study design: Pre / post-intervention study. Study population: 78 GPs in the Canton of Zurich. Intervention: A one day dermatologic education programme provided by a dermatologist. Measurements: Before (T0) and after (T1) the dermatologic education programme, GPs were asked to rate pictures (with a short history) of skin lesions on a visual analogue scale according to their likelihood of malignancy. Analysis: Non-parametric paired Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to compare the sum score of correctly classified skin lesions at T0 and T1.
RESULTS: At T0 GPs classified 63.9% lesions correctly (benign: 51.2%; malignant: 76.6%), while at T1 these figures increased to 75.1% (benign: 67.6%; malignant: 82.7%).
CONCLUSION: A one-day dermatologic education programme led to improvements in GPs' diagnostic competence in skin cancer, but there remained room for further improvement.