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January 2007

Melanoma Screening: Focusing the Public Health Journey

Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(1):101-103. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.1.101

in the 1970s, with rising melanoma incidence and mortality rates, some investigators conducted isolated skin cancer screening efforts as a strategy for early detection.1-3 Intrigued by the appeal of visual examination as a potentially effective screening tool, others then joined in. In the 1980s and 1990s, growing numbers of dermatology-led skin cancer screening clinics nationwide prompted more systematic investigations into the complex public health dimensions involved.4-8 Some proposed targeting higher-risk populations for special consideration. Others probed self-screening as a potential tool.8-10 Teams from Australia and elsewhere contributed their expertise,11,12 in particular, addressing issues of screening by general practitioners. International organizations began to weigh the general advisability of melanoma screening as part of broader cancer screening policy.7,13,14 Despite these decades of research, practice, and inquiry, consensus about melanoma screening remains elusive. In the 21st century, how will this public health journey progress?

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