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November 1996

Avoiding Sampling Error in the Biopsy of Pigmented Lesions

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX 75235

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(11):1380-1382. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890350124024

PREVENTION AND early detection are the most important interventions in decreasing the morbidity and mortality rates of cutaneous melanoma. The public health problem posed by melanoma is already significant and continues to grow rapidly. Fortunately, education of patients and physicians about clinical features of melanoma, such as the appearance of a new dark spot on the skin, a changing mole, and the ABCs of melanoma, has led to increased awareness about pigmented lesions in general.1-4 Nevertheless, a significant number of individuals still have yet to even hear of the term melanoma and fewer still are aware of the clinical appearance of these lesions.5 Given the increasing incidence of this dangerous neoplasm, it is sure to continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality for years to come.

Although dermatologists are taught that the identification of cutaneous melanoma on clinical inspection is generally straightforward, it may be difficult, if not

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