Educational Campaigns May Improve Skin Cancer Screening

Campaigns with specific recommendations for who should be screened are needed
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Educational campaigns that include specific recommendations for who should be screened for skin cancer may improve skin cancer screening rates and increase the understanding of screening benefits, according to a study published Oct. 18 in the Archives of Dermatology.

Ryan Andrulonis, of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues evaluated 546 adults, 18 years of age or older, being seen for skin cancer screening between May and October 2009 to assess patients reasons for seeking skin cancer screening and their understanding of screening recommendations and benefits.

The investigators found that 80.6 percent obtained screening without being concerned about a particular lesion. Compared to men, women were more likely to inquire about the dangers of previous sun exposure or a lesion they believed could be skin cancer. While adults younger than 50 years of age were more likely than older adults to obtain screening due to a family history of melanoma (30 versus 18.9 percent), male adults, 50 years or older, were more likely than other patients to seek skin cancer screening due to a previous skin cancer diagnosis (64.6 versus 40.8 percent). Most patients incorrectly believed that screening prevents skin cancer.

"There is a need for better educational campaigns with specific recommendation for who should be screened for skin cancer," the authors write. "Men 50 years or older, the group at highest risk for death from melanoma, are most likely to seek screening only after being diagnosed as having a skin cancer."

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