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Experts Disagree about Skin Cancer Diagnosis but Not about Skin Cancer Prevention

Dr. Joann Elmore at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine led a study investigating how often pathologists agreed—or disagreed—about skin cancer diagnoses. Her results show that doctors don’t always agree about the presence or progression of cancer. However, to date, doctors still largely agree about how to prevent skin cancer.

About the Skin Cancer Diagnosis Study

Dr. Elmore’s study involved:

  • 240 skin samples
  • 187 pathologists
  • 10 states

Pathologists were given all skin samples in sets of 36 to 48 samples and asked to determine if cancer was present and to diagnose the stage of cancer (between 1 and 5, 5 being the most advanced stage). The participating doctors were asked to review the same samples eight months later. Here’s what Dr. Elmore found:

  • Pathologists agreed with their initial diagnosis more than 75% of the time on a Stage 1 sample
  • Pathologists agreed with their initial diagnose more than 80% of the time on a Stage 5 sample

It’s the middle stages of cancer progression that are harder to pin down. When samples and diagnoses were reviewed by an expert panel of three pathologists, the panel only agreed with a Stage 2 diagnosis about 25% of the time, but the same panel agreed with more than 90% of the Stage 1 diagnoses.

Researchers estimate that the disagreement about skin cancer diagnosis may result in about 17% of cases being under- or over-diagnosed (i.e. assigned a stage too low or too high, respectively).

What the Study Means for You

The study is not intended to damage confidence in your doctor’s or dermatologist’s diagnosis. Diagnoses for early stages of skin cancer and advanced stages are consistent, so physicians can be certain what types and how aggressive your treatment may need to be.

Don’t Be a Skin Cancer Statistic

One way to avoid being over- or under-diagnosed with skin cancer is to prevent your cells from mutating in the first place. How? Two main strategies:

  • Sun protection provided by a broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • Skin damage repair with antioxidant-infused products to neutralize cancer-causing free radicals

Hale Cosmeceuticals has products for advanced skin cancer prevention.

  • Our Complexion Protection is a vegan-formula broad-spectrum sunblock (SPF 35+) that is free of common sunscreen ingredients that irritate your skin and possibly present a skin cancer risk themselves.
  • Our R.A.C. Lifting Complex is an antioxidant-packed moisturizing cream. Our formula has more than seven times the antioxidant content than other leading products and also includes alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids for improved texture and moisture retention.

Our complete line of cruelty-free, all-natural skincare products includes a number of other formulas that can aid skin repair. To find out more about which products are best suited to your needs and skin type, take our personal skin assessment. Contact us to order or request a free sample.

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