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Can a dermatologist spot skin cancer more accurately than a primary care doctor?


MedHead Confidence Score: 2
Amount Saved: $2500 cost of Moh's surgery post


MedHead Message:

Dermatologists are better able to find and diagnose serious skin cancer compare to a primary care doctor in most circumstances. The problem for primary care doctors is they likely are trying to get multiple things done all at once, including a skin check. If you think you may be at high risk for skin cancer, get checked by a dermatologist. They do cost more,  but it’s better to catch something earlier, rather than later on. Moh’s surgery is a special type of surgery that aims to remove all the cancer without removing any more skin than necessary. However, it’s also very expensive. Usually this can be avoided if a cancer is caught early on in the process.


  • 1. Garrido AQ, Wainstein AJA, Brandão MPA, de Vasconcellos Santos FA, Bittencourt FV, Ledsham C, Drummond-Lage AP. Diagnosis of Cutaneous Melanoma: the Gap Between the Knowledge of General Practitioners and Dermatologists in a Brazilian Population. J Cancer Educ. 2020 Aug;35(4):819-825. doi: 10.1007/s13187-020-01735-z. Erratum in: J Cancer Educ. 2020 May 27;: PMID: 32193871.
  • 2. Ashley Privalle, Thomas Havighurst, KyungMann Kim, Daniel D. Bennett, Yaohui G. Xu,
    Number of skin biopsies needed per malignancy: Comparing the use of skin biopsies among dermatologists and nondermatologist clinicians,
    Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology,Volume 82, Issue 1,2020,Pages 110-116,ISSN 0190-9622, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2019.08.012.
  • 2. https://www.realself.com/surgical/mohs-surgery/cost. Accessed 7/11/2022.


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