In a recent statement, the US Preventative Services Task Force outlined recommendations for adolescents and adults on screening for skin cancer.
US Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) issued a draft recommendation on screening for skin cancer in adolescents and adults.
The statement was posted after the Task Force concluded that evidence both in support of and against screening asymptomatic individuals was lacking. Individuals experiencing or symptoms or with a family history of skin cancer were not part of the group addressed by the statement.
Task Force defined screening as, “a visual skin exam by a primary care professional,” and described skin cancer as an abnormal growth of skin cells. Skin cancer rarely causes serious outcomes or death but is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
Melanoma and keratinocyte carcinoma are the 2 most common types of skin cancer, with melanoma most likely to lead to death. People who had multiple past sunburns, men, and older individuals are at increased risk of developing skin cancer. Tanning beds also increase risk.
Melanoma is more likely in those with light skin, light eyes, red or blonde hair, a large number of moles, or family history of skin cancer. Despite this, the statement author noted that the recommendations do not apply to those with family history of skin cancer or other skin complications such as moles.
“Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to know whether or not screening adolescents and adults without symptoms reduces complications or death, so we are calling for more research,” said Katrina Donahue, MD, MPH, Task Force member.
Currently, Task Force recommends healthcare professionals use their own judgement when determining which patients to screen for skin cancer. This has highlighted a need to broaden research on screening for both those of different skins tones and those with access to different types of healthcare.
Along with the statement on screening, Task Force posted a statement on counseling to prevent skin cancer, helping primary care professionals and patients manage the disease. Individuals concerned about changes to their skin or skin cancer should seek help from a healthcare professional.
U.S. preventive services task force issues draft recommendation on screening for skin cancer. US Preventative Services Task Force. October 25, 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/sites/default/files/file/supporting_documents/skin-cancer-screening-bulletin.pdf