Study Finds Discrepancies in Biopsy Decisions, Diagnoses Based on Skin Type

Source: Medscape, April 2022

BOSTON – Among dermatology residents and attending dermatologists, rates of diagnostic accuracy and appropriate biopsy recommendations were significantly lower for patients with skin of color compared with White patients, new research shows.

“Our findings suggest diagnostic biases based on skin color exist in dermatology practice," lead author Loren Krueger, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Dermatology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, said at the Annual Meeting of the Skin of Color Society Scientific Symposium (SOCS) 2022. “A lower likelihood of biopsy of malignancy in darker skin types could contribute to disparities in cutaneous malignancies," she added.

Disparities in dermatologic care among Black patients in comparison with White patients have been well documented. Recent evidence includes a 2020 study that showed significant shortcomings among medical students in correctly diagnosing squamous cell carcinoma, urticaria, and atopic dermatitis for patients with skin of color.