Skin Health

Detecting Skin Cancer

A panel of health experts has said there is not enough evidence to recommend adult skin cancer screenings from a patient’s primary doctor.  

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) emphasized, though, that the recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) referred only to primary care physicians, and not to specialists.

AAD President Terrence Cronin Jr. said in a statement that it is “important for the public to understand that the USPSTF is not recommending against skin cancer screenings or commenting on the value of general population screening by dermatologists, who are the leading experts in diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.

“Skin cancer is highly treatable when diagnosed early. Melanoma accounts for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths, and nonmelanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma can have potentially devastating effects, including severe tissue loss, metastasis, and death.

“The AAD encourages everyone to serve as their own health advocate by regularly conducting skin self-exams. Individuals who notice any new spots on their skin, any spots that look different from the others, or anything changing, itching or bleeding, should see a board-certified dermatologist.

“While everyone is at risk of developing skin cancer, some individuals have a higher risk and should be particularly vigilant. Consult with your dermatologists who knows what your individual skin cancer risk is.”

The USPSTF is a panel of health care professionals who make recommendations for primary care physicians.

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