Novice identification of melanoma: not quite as straightforward as the ABCDs

R Benjamin Aldridge, Matteo Zanotto, Lucia Ballerini, Robert B Fisher, Jonathan L Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The "ABCD" mnemonic to assist non-experts' diagnosis of melanoma is widely promoted; however, there are good reasons to be sceptical about public education strategies based on analytical, rule-based approaches--such as ABCD (i.e. Asymmetry, Border Irregularity, Colour Uniformity and Diameter). Evidence suggests that accurate diagnosis of skin lesions is achieved predominately through non-analytical pattern recognition (via training examples) and not by rule-based algorithms. If the ABCD are to function as a useful public education tool they must be used reliably by untrained novices, with low inter-observer and intra-diagnosis variation, but with maximal inter-diagnosis differences. The three subjective properties (the ABCs of the ABCD) were investigated experimentally: 33 laypersons scored 40 randomly selected lesions (10 lesions x 4 diagnoses: benign naevi, dysplastic naevi, melanomas, seborrhoeic keratoses) for the three properties on visual analogue scales. The results (n = 3,960) suggest that novices cannot use the ABCs reliably to discern benign from malignant lesions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-130
JournalActa Dermato-Venereologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


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