The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery have expressed disappointment with the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force’s determination that there is not enough evidence to make a recommendation on asymptomatic adults receiving skin cancer screenings from a physician.
“The American Academy of Dermatology is disappointed with this recommendation, as dermatologists know that skin cancer screenings can save lives, yet we acknowledge the need for additional research on the benefits and harms of skin cancer screening in the primary care setting,” Abel Torres, MD, JD, FAAD, president of the AAD, stated in a press release.
“It is important for the public to understand that the USPSTF is not recommending against skin cancer screenings; it means the group did not find conclusive evidence to make a recommendation evidence to make a recommendation one way or another,” Torres stated. “Additionally, the public should know that this recommendation does not apply to individuals with suspicious skin lesions and those with an increased skin cancer risk, and it does not address the practice of skin self-exams.”
“Dermatologic surgeons – who are experts in skin disease treatment – do not believe this ‘sufficient evidence’ recommendation is accurate,” Naomi Lawrence, MD, president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), stated in a separate press release. “Screenings often lead to early detection and treatment, which lead to better outcomes and higher survival rates for patients.”
The ASDS Choose Skin Health program has provided more than 20,000 free skin cancer screenings to the public since 2008, which has resulted in a cancer diagnosis for 1 in 10 patients, according to the release.
Lawrence noted that the task force recommended adults should consult a physician if they already had skin cancer; or at high risk, including having fair skin, light eye color or a history of significant sun exposure; or have changes to their skin.
“However, even those not at high risk for the disease can benefit from skin cancer screenings,” Lawrence stated. “Screenings can provide early detection when the disease is most curable as well as educate patients on the importance of skin self-exams and sun-safe behaviors.”
The USPSTF statement recently was published in JAMA.
Reference: www.aad.org; www.asds.org