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SPOT Skin Cancer™ Screening Program

SPOTme skin cancer screenings

Hosting an AAD SPOT Skin Cancer™ screening is a great way to demonstrate your commitment and passion to the community and to the specialty. The screening program is the Academy's longest-standing public health program. Since its inception in 1985, dermatologists have conducted more than 2.8 million free SPOT Skin Cancer™ screenings and detected more than 288,000 suspicious lesions, including more than 33,000 suspected melanoma.

Host a free screening event in your area

The AAD will provide you with free screening forms and skin cancer handouts. Your screening event will also be advertised on the AAD website and toll-free hotline.

Get free screening materials
State society resources illustrated image
State society toolkit: Skin cancer screening program

The Academy is working to deliver information and resources state societies need to help advocate for the specialty. Here, you'll find a toolkit full of resources to support the AAD's SPOT Skin Cancer™ screening program.

Skin cancer screening resources

  • Screening forms and guidelines
  • Publicize your event
  • Educate the community
  • Providing skin cancer screenings plays an important role in increasing public awareness about skin cancer prevention and detection. In addition to your screening, consider conducting a community presentation before or during your screening to drive home the message of early detection and prevention. The AAD has many resources you can use to prepare such as quizzes, fact sheets, and other handouts.

    Additional educational support materials such as pamphlets and bookmarks developed and reviewed by AAD member dermatologists can be purchased through the Academy’s Member Resource Center at (866) 503-7546. Please also access the many AAD free and downloadable educational resources.

    Presentation tips

    As you prepare your presentation, consider the following tips:

    • Establish an objective. What is the goal of the presentation and what messages do you want the audience to remember? The goal of a skin cancer detection and prevention presentation, for example, may be to teach the ABCDE's of melanoma and how to perform a self-examination.

    • Know your audience. Learn as much as possible about your audience, how much they know about the topic, their level of understanding and attention span. Plan your presentation accordingly.

    • Don’t write out (and read) your full presentation. Reading a script is boring and prevents the speaker from interacting with the audience. Use a presentation outline instead of a script.

    • Personalize and humanize. Make your presentation come alive by telling stories about some of your skin cancer patients.

    • Keep it short. Keep the presentation brief (10-15 minutes) and allow time for questions from your audience.

    • Use visuals. If possible, use charts or graphs to help make your point.

    • Leave materials behind. Reinforce your messages by leaving the skin cancer brochures, bookmarks, fact sheets, and other materials with your audience.

    • Practice. Become familiar with the material and then practice in front of a mirror, video camera, or with a family member or friend who can offer constructive criticism.


    Below are frequently asked questions about the program. If you have additional questions, contact screenings@aad.org.

    What is the difference between a public and private screening?

    Private screenings are usually conducted for a specific organization and are only offered to internal employees. Public screenings are offered to the general community with no restrictions on who can attend. The Academy promotes public screenings, but does not promote private screenings.

    Who can assist at the screening?

    Medical personnel, including well-trained physician assistants and nurse practitioners, can screen under the direct supervision of a dermatologist. However, an Academy member MUST serve as the screening director and be in attendance at the screening.

    How does the AAD promote the screening?

    For public screenings, the Academy will post details about the screening on its web site and toll-free number, including a contact’s phone number to make an appointment, get directions, or ask questions. Visitors looking for a free screening in their area can enter their zip code to find a screening within a 50-mile radius.

    When do most free skin cancer screenings take place?

    Many screenings are held between May-August. However, screenings can take place at any time during the year. The Academy reminds the public of the importance of year-round sun protection, so hosting a screening in the winter months is appropriate.

    How do I order supplies for a skin cancer screening?

    Order free materials from the Academy here.

    Included in the screening toolkit are:

    • AAD SPOT Skin Cancer™ screening guidelines booklet

    • Screening forms

    • Skin cancer handouts

    • Posters

    How should the screening room be set up?

    Each exam room should include a table or two chairs, exam gowns, latex gloves or hand sanitizer, and additional lighting, if needed.

    How long do I keep my physician copy (“white” copies) of the patient forms?

    The patient forms are considered a patient record. Therefore, the forms should be kept by the screening volunteer for six years or per his/her state’s requirements. If the screening is coordinated by a large medical facility, the facility may require that it maintain the records.

    Why is it important to send the AAD copy (“pink” copies) of the screening forms and Volunteer Form (“goldenrod”) back to the AAD?

    Both records are extremely important to send back to the Academy using the envelope because the screening form data is tabulated for the program’s annual report and also cumulative report. The data collected is useful in knowing the age ranges of the individuals seeking a skin cancer screening, gender, race, family history of skin cancer, as well as recording any presumptive diagnosis. 

    From the Participating Volunteer Form, the Academy issues thank you letters and certificates of appreciation to the volunteers.

    Where are most screenings held?

    Anywhere! Offices, fairs, beaches, hospitals, etc.

    How many volunteers are needed for the screening?

    Invite as many local dermatologists and their staff (residents, nurse practitioners, and  physician’s assistants) as possible. Assign time slots for those individuals who agree to screen. Note the following suggestions: 

    • One dermatologist can usually screen between 6-10 patients an hour

    • Have female and male assistants available if a chaperone is requested

    • Recruit assistants to help with paper work and traffic flow