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October 2016

Skin Cancer—The Importance of Prevention

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco, California
  • 3Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri
  • 4Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(10):1435-1436. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5008

In 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found insufficient evidence to recommend skin examinations for the early detection of skin cancer in adults. The conclusion followed from a systematic review of the effectiveness and harms of clinical visual skin examinations by physicians or patient self-examinations in terms of morbidity and mortality from skin cancer.

Several years later, after another systematic review,1 the USPSTF’s conclusion—that there is insufficient evidence to recommend total-body skin examination for the early detection of melanoma, basal cell cancer, or squamous cell cancer in all adults—remains the same.2

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