Date:April 29, 2017
Source:University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences
As rates of skin cancer, or melanoma, rise for men and women in the United States, health experts are debating the effectiveness of annual total body examinations in helping to detect the disease in its earlier stages. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
Routine full body exams for skin cancer are not usually part of the annual physical exams performed by primary care providers and non-dermatology specialists. Last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel on preventive and primary care, concluded that there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine full body skin examinations for adult patients.
However, a group of dermatologists and oncologists published an article in the March issue of the journal Future Medicine asking the preventive task force to revise its stance on full body skin inspections. In the journal article, the authors disagreed with the task force’s findings and the physicians who authored the article stated that routine body screening of “high risk” individuals could help reduce skin cancer deaths.
As summer nears and more people prepare to go out in the sun, Dr. Philip Scumpia, a dermatologist and dermatopathologist, says there are conflicting recommendations over full body skin inspections.