Hopes raised of better skin-cancer detection

Family doctors are piloting a new technique to better detect skin cancer.

The Central Sheffield GP Consortium hopes to significantly reduce both numbers of patients with malignant melanoma misdiagnosed by GPs as well as the numbers with benign lesions or moles being referred unnecessarily to hospital.

Patients from 27 practices covered by the group will be given rapid access to expert diagnoses using specialist microscopes which harness light and magnification to produce high-quality images of the structures of the skin.

Results will be available within three days of the tests being carried out, improving the speed of accurate diagnoses of skin cancer.

Michelle Wilde, practice manager at Manor Top Surgery, said: "This service will increase the quality of diagnosis of pigmented lesions or moles and cut down on the significant number of people unnecessarily referred to hospital.

"It not only offers the patient choice and reduced travel costs, but will also give them peace of mind as they are diagnosed quickly."