Malignant melanoma can present with characteristics that mimic other lesions clinically and histologically. As such, accurate diagnosis should be a collaborative effort between clinician and dermatopathologist, advises Clay J. Cockerell, M.D., founder and medical director of Cockerell Dermatopathology, Dallas.
Clinicians and dermatopathologists should interact in a way that is rational, intelligent and direct to get a quicker and more accurate diagnoses for the patient, Dr. Cockerell told colleagues recently during a talk at the Practical Symposium in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
“Unfortunately, a lot of times we receive superficial or narrow biopsies that do not sample diagnostic areas. This can make arriving at the correct diagnosis even more difficult, particularly in the absence of adequate detailed clinical information regarding the lesion and patient,” says Dr. Cockerell
In addition to the biopsy specimen, not all clinicians will submit sufficient clinical information, a practice that often significantly assists the dermatopathologist and improves the chances of arriving at the accurate diagnosis when faced with a challenging lesion.
It is crucial that the pathologist know what the clinician is truly thinking regarding the potential diagnosis of the suspect lesion, according to Dr. Cockerell.