(HealthDay News) — Lesion-directed screening (LDS) has a similar skin cancer detection rate as total-body examination (TBE) but is substantially less time-consuming, according to a study published online Oct. 14 in JAMA Dermatology.

Isabelle Hoorens, M.D., from University Hospital Ghent in Belgium, and colleagues compared LDS and TBE screening strategies. A team of six dermatologists arranged multiday screenings in two comparable communities.

The researchers found that of the 1,982 individuals screened, 47 skin cancers (2.4 percent) were histologically confirmed, including nine melanomas (0.5 percent), 37 basal cell carcinomas (1.9 percent), and one squamous cell carcinoma or Bowen disease (0.1 percent). The positive predictive value for all suspicious lesions was 56.6 percent (47 of 83), and the skin cancer detection rate per 100 participants did not differ significantly between the groups. Per 100 invitees, the operational effectiveness was 0.4 percent in the TBE group and 0.1 percent in the LDS group. LDS was 5.6 times less time-consuming than TBE.

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“When performed by dermatologists, LDS is an acceptable alternative screening method in health care systems with limited budgets or long waiting lists,” conclude the authors.

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