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Recognition for ‘ugly duckling’

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Nurse practitioners could be taught to recognise ‘ugly duckling’ lesions likely to be malignant melanomas, US researchers have said.

They tested a screening method in which 34 experts, including five dermatology nurses, looked at images of skin and picked out lesions that looked different from others on the same patient.

There were five melanomas in the pictures – all of which were detected. Only three of the 140 benign lesions were singled out as different.

‘It [the ugly duckling sign] could be taught to primary care physicians, to nurse practitioners and even to patients who are performing skin self-examination,’ the authors said.

Archives of Dermatology (2008) 144: 58–64

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