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Agreement between histological diagnosis of skin lesions by histopathologists and a dermato-histopathologist

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Abstract Background 

Skin cancer is an increasing problem in fair-skinned populations worldwide. It is important that doctors are able to diagnose skin lesions accurately, and this is supported by accurate histological diagnosis. Objective 

To compare agreement for histological diagnosis between local histopathologists with a dermato-histopathologist from a stratified random sample of excised skin lesions derived from a set of epidemiological data. Methods 

All excised and histologically confirmed skin cancers in Townsville/Thuringowa, Australia from December 1996 to October 1999 were recorded. A stratified sample of 407 of 8694 skin excisions slides was analyzed. Results 

Positive predictive values (PPVs) for the primary histological diagnosis were above 90% for basal cell carcinoma, cutaneous melanoma, and common naevus. For squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the PPV was 72.6% [95% CI = (65.5, 79.0)]. Discussion 

Lack of agreement between histopathologists regarding the diagnosis of SCC and actinic keratosis has been previously recognized in the literature and this is again reflected in our study. The result also illustrates the difficulty involved for doctors in accurately clinically diagnosing lesions for which a consensus is hard to reach histologically.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Skin Cancer Research Group within the North Queensland Centre for Cancer Research, School of Medicine and School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, 2: Sullivan and Nicolaides Pathology laboratories, Taringa, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 3: James Cook University, Mackay, Queensland, Australia

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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