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May 2014

Once Upon a Time

Author Affiliations
  • 1Private practice
  • 2retired

Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(5):511. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.9986

Whatever age we might be and from whatever background we may come, fairy tales continue to enchant us. Generations of children have enjoyed bedtime stories about magic carpets, wicked witches, powerful genies, and similar exciting fantasy characters. Today, fairy tales are regularly featured in entertainment media, such as television, cinema, theater, and amusement theme parks.

Fairy tales also have their special place in dermatology. For example, an important clinical clue for detecting malignant melanoma is the “ugly duckling” sign, based on the observation that a melanoma often appears different from other nevi in the same individual.1 Similarly, the “beauty and the beast” sign in dermoscopy emphasizes the assessment of overall symmetry of color and form in distinguishing between melanoma and other nevi.2

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