The incidence of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer worldwide is increasing faster than any other cancer and continues to rise. Even though recent advances have been made in the treatment of advanced and metastatic disease, skin cancer prevention and early diagnosis remain the key strategies to morbidity and mortality rates.
Primary skin cancer prevention aims to reduce the risk factors for skin cancer through environmental and social changes and behavioral modification; thus effects in a population are not immediate but will effect on next generations. Secondary prevention strategies aim to identify subjects at risk for skin cancer and to diagnose and treat skin cancer in its early stages before it results in significant morbidity.
Dermoscopy in the year 2011 is not a novel technique anymore but a well established diagnostic tool to improve the clinical recognition of a broad spectrum of different skin disorders. Skin cancer detection remains however the most important indication of dermoscopy. There is evidence that the use of dermoscopy is associated with both a significant increase of number of excised melanoma and a significant reduction of number of benign pigmented skin lesions excised for diagnostic verification. Not surprisingly, most recent melanoma guidelines promote the use of dermoscopy in skin cancer screening and diagnosis.
Continuing medical education and training programs help medical specialities dealing with skin cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment to maintain their competence and to learn about new and developing areas in this field.
The Master of Science in Dermoscopy and Preventive Dermatolooncology is a 3 year postgraduate mostly distance learning course for physicians and nurses who wish to gain expertise in the theoretical and practical diagnosis and management of skin tumors. Its qualification is granted with the academic degree of Master of Science in Dermoscopy and Preventive Dermatolooncology (M.Sc. DermPrevOncol).
Within the 3 years master program, graduates will posses advanced knowledge in theoretical and practically applied topics related to skin cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment and will acquire high order skills in the professional application of dermoscopy.
A highly interactive program will cover a broad range of topics at different levels ranging from melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer epidemiology, primary and secondary prevention strategies, dermoscopic-pathologic correlations, basic and advanced dermoscopy, therapeutic options for skin tumors, aspects of rare skin tumors, update on recent research to future directions of non-invasive diagnostic techniques.
The learning material is provided by international experts in skin cancer epidemiology, prevention and dermoscopy and provides a diverse range of expertise in the field of skin cancer. A large bank of clinical and dermoscopy images is used throughout the course and collaborative learning is encouraged through the online community of participants and tutors. Besides online material, the course offers also a practical-orientated personal training at renowned dermoscopy clinics worldwide. No previous dermoscopy or dermatology qualifications are required; however access to a dermatoscope is recommended.
In order to allow broad internationality and to meet the different needs of attendees, a flexible program is provided with the majority of its contents being provided online. Attendance is required for only two 5 - and 10 - day courses, respectively; the 10-day practical training may be completed at various internationally renowned centers of excellence, at which graduates will be personally trained by world leading dermoscopy experts.
The master program guides through 3 different education levels and is composed by 19 teaching modules. The first education level “Basic Dermoscopy Course” (former International Dermoscopy Diploma), the 5-days courses (International Short Course of Dermoscopy), and the “Advanced Dermoscopy Course” of the second level can be also passed outside the curriculum and may be credited to the master-degree when the curriculum is picked up within 5 years.
The degree in Master of Science in Dermoscopy and Preventive Dermatooncology requires a master-thesis (90 ECTS, 2.995 TU) that may be completed within 6 semesters. Graduates who limit their studies before pursuing the master degree may be certified as Academic Expert in Dermoscopy and Preventive Dermatooncology after 4 semesters or may receive an International Dermoscopy Diploma after 3 semesters.