Learning from mistakes: errors in approaches to melanoma and the urgent need for updated national guidelines

Olga Simionescu, Andreas Blum, Mariana Grigore, Mariana Costache, Alina Avram, Alessandro Testori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The tracking and identification of errors in the detection and follow-up of melanoma are important because there is huge potential to increase awareness about the most vulnerable aspects of diagnosis and treatment, and to improve both from the perspective of healthcare economics. The present study was designed to identify where errors occur and to propose a minimum set of rules for the routine guidance of any specialist in melanoma management. Methods: This report describes the evaluation of a unique series of 33 cases in which errors applying to many steps in the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma were detected. Cases were collected at two centers in Romania, one public and one private, as part of a process of obtaining patient-requested second opinions. Results: A total of 166 errors were identified across the 33 patients, most of which were treatment errors. The errors fell into six categories: clinical diagnostic errors (36 errors among 30 patients); primary surgical errors (31 errors among 16 patients); pathology errors (24 errors among 17 patients); sentinel lymph node biopsy errors (13 errors among 13 patients); staging errors (17 errors among 13 patients); and treatment or management errors (45 errors among 33 patients). Conclusions: Based on the present results, we propose that in countries lacking national guidelines, clinicians should adhere to international evidence-based guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-976
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Dermatology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Dermatology

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