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DDDDDDDDDDDD Effective management logically follows accurate diagnosis. Such logic often is difficult to apply in practice. Absolute diagnostic accuracy may not be possible, particularly in the field of primary care, when management has to be on analysis of symptoms and on knowledge of the individual patient and family. This series follows that on Problems in Practice which was con- cerned more with diagnosis in the widest sense and this series deals more definitively with general care and specific treatment of symp- toms and diseases. Good management must include knowledge of the nature, course and outcome of the conditions, as well as prominent clinical features and assessment and investigations, but the emphasis is on what to do best for the patient. Family medical practitioners have particular difficulties and advantages in their work. Because they often work in professional isolation in the community and deal with relatively small numbers of near-normal patients their experience with the more serious and more rare conditions is restricted. They find it difficult to remain up-to-date with medical advances and even more difficult to decide on the suitability and application of new and relatively untried methods compared with those that are 'old' and well proven. vii Their advantages are that because of long-term continuous care for their patients they have come to know them and their families well and are able to become familiar with the more common and less serious diseases of their communities.
This book will, it is hoped, fill the gap between cur- rent, smaller texts on dermatology and the standard, large reference books. It should be helpful to those embarking on a career in dermatology and to general practitioners and primary physicians with a special interest in this field. In this book the emphasis is on clinical aspects of skin diseases, and it is assumed that the reader has some knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the skin. The differential diagnosis of each disorder is extensively discussed and sex predilection and age of onset are illustrated diagrammatically. As in other branches of medicine, treatments are now frequently changing and these are fully covered. Aetiological factors in skin disorders are now becoming clearer and separate sections on this subject are discussed for each disease. Prognosis and natural history are not always adequately covered in texts on derma- tology, so these topics are set out under separate headings. A small number of the illustrations have been loaned from colleagues and institutions, and we gratefully acknowledge this assistance from the following: The Wellcome Museum of Medical Science; Photographic Department, Institute of Dermatology, St John's Hospital; Dr Roger Clayton; Dr W. H. Jopling; and Dr P. Rodin. We are also grateful to the staff of MTP for their assistance in preparing this book.
This series is intended particularly for young doctors working in hospitals and in primary care and for those involved in training them. The series has been designed to cover growing points in medicine and the authors have been chosen, not just because of their expertise, but also because they are working both in hospitals and the community and are thus sensitive to the problems and needs of doctors in both areas.