Current approach of skin lesions suspected of malignancy in general practice in the Netherlands: a quantitative overview

K. Ahmadi, E. Prickaerts, J. G. E. Smeets, V. H. M. J. Joosten, N. W. J. Kelleners-Smeets*, G. J. Dinant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BackgroundThe role of general practitioners (GPs) in skin cancer care is increasing. Previous, hospital-based studies suggest that GPs might not have the capabilities to gain responsibility concerning skin cancer care. ObjectivesTo evaluate the current approach of GPs towards skin lesions suspected of malignancy in the Netherlands. MethodsIn three general practices, all consultations in 2015 concerning skin lesions suspected of malignancy were identified and reviewed. Patients demographics, circumstances of consultation, evaluation of skin lesion(s), presumed diagnosis, diagnostic accuracy and policy were evaluated. ResultsFive hundred and eighty consultations were identified. Patient took initiative for encounter in 90%. Case-finding occurred in 2%. Diagnostic tools were used in 22%; dermoscopy was used in 8% and a diagnostic excision in 10%. The GP diagnosed a benign lesion in 69%. Therapeutic interventions were applied in 31% and a wait-and-see policy in 40%. The diagnosis after referral was a benign tumour in 39% of the cases, a malignancy in 29% and a premalignant lesion in 17%. The positive predictive value (PPV) of the presumed benign, malignant and premalignant diagnoses was 86%, 54% and 18%, respectively. ConclusionsMost lesions that are presented to the GP with a suspicion of a malignancy appear to be benign lesions. In the examined practices, the diagnosis of the GP is mainly based on clinical examination and little use is made of available diagnostic tools. The use of a diagnostic tool like a biopsy might prevent unnecessary referrals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-241
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018



Cite this