Published on December 10, 2015
Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in the United States, with more than 73,000 people diagnosed with melanoma—the most dangerous type of skin cancer—each year and more than 2 million people diagnosed with nonmelanoma skin cancer annually. Nearly 10,000 people are dying each year from melanoma, and nonmelanoma skin cancers also pose serious threats, which can include severe tissue damage or metastasis and death.
Despite overwhelming evidence that melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers are most treatable when detected early, the recent draft recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) do not recommend regular skin cancer screening by a clinician.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation will continue to recommend annual skin cancer screenings by a health care professional. Dermatologists are trained to detect skin cancer early by looking for suspicious moles that are asymmetrical, have irregular borders, are not uniform in color, have a diameter greater than 6 mm or are evolving in size, shape or color.
“We cannot waver on the importance of screening and early detection for skin cancer,” said Carolyn Aldigé, President and Founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “Annual examinations by a health care professional can be critical for finding and treating cancer early and saving lives.”
Luckily, these are still draft recommendations. We need your help! We’re asking you to go to the USPSTF recommendation site today, go to the comment section and recommend screenings for skin cancer.
Suggested Comment for the 3rd Question on the page
The USPSTF should recommend regular skin cancer screenings. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is far more treatable when caught earlier. The 5-year survival for melanoma detected before it has spread is 98%, compared to 63% when it has reached the lymph nodes.
Additionally, this recommendation was based only on limited research on the impact of regular screenings on melanoma mortality. However, other skin cancers, while not as deadly, may still lead to death if they are not detected, and can still be disfiguring, painful and more expensive to treat if allowed to develop.
For these reasons, I disagree with the current recommendation and urge the USPSTF to recommend regular skin cancer screenings.