July 27, 2016
Prevent Cancer Foundation encourages visual skin cancer screening, despite final recommendation from USPSTF
Alexandria, VA— The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released on Tuesday a final recommendation statement on screening for skin cancer. The USPSTF has found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against using visual examinations by clinicians to screen adults for skin cancer. With this recommendation, private insurers will not be required to pay for screenings, and the same is true for Medicare and Medicaid.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation strongly encourages everyone at average risk for skin cancer receive annual visual skin cancer exams by a dermatologist or health care professional. If you have a family or personal history of skin cancer, talk to your health care professional about having more frequent skin exams.
You should also examine your own skin once a month and talk to your health care professional about any changes.
Research has shown that screening saves lives by catching melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) in its early stages, when it is most treatable. The Foundation is also concerned that the USPSTF review focused only on mortality, ignoring other significant harms that often occur from basal or squamous cell cancer. Though these cancers are not as deadly, they can lead to significant pain and disfigurement if they are not detected early on—and, if left untreated, they can also be lethal.
For more information on skin cancer and how to reduce your risk, click here.