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30 November 2015

AAD statement on skin cancer screening

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Nov. 30, 2015) — Statement from Mark G. Lebwohl, MD, FAAD, President, American Academy of Dermatology:

“The American Academy of Dermatology believes that early detection is vital in the fight against skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. All forms of skin cancer — including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer — are most treatable when detected early.
 
“The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Draft Recommendation Statement on Screening for Skin Cancer, released today, does not recommend regular skin cancer screenings by a clinician in adults, citing insufficient evidence. The Academy is in the process of reviewing this statement and the available evidence, and we look forward to providing our input on the draft recommendation.
 
“The USPSTF has chosen to focus on melanoma, which accounts for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths; however, this does not take into account the potentially devastating effects of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which in some cases may include severe tissue damage or metastasis and death. It’s also important to note that patients with suspicious skin lesions and those with an increased skin cancer risk were deemed to be outside the scope of this recommendation, as was the practice of patients examining themselves for signs of skin cancer.
 
“The Academy encourages all members of the public to serve as their own health advocates by regularly conducting skin self-exams. Individuals who notice any unusual spots on their skin, including those that are changing, itching or bleeding, should make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. Additionally, people with an increased risk of melanoma or a history of skin cancer should talk to a dermatologist to determine how often they should receive a skin exam from a doctor.”

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