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Skin Cancer Screening: Who Really Needs It?

Thousands of Americans head to the beach every summer in order to soak in the sun and develop a natural tan. However, extended exposure to the sun does carry a risk. It’s estimated that around 76,000 Americans will develop melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and an estimated 10,000 will end up dying from it. However, there isn’t enough evidence for the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force to be able to recommend a total-body skin cancer screening.

New Statement Regarding the Recommendation of Skin Cancer Screenings

According to an independent panel made up of 17 members, they could not determine whether the benefits of a skin cancer screening would outweigh the possibility of harm if a performed procedure was unnecessary or excessive. This harm can include:

  1. Cosmetic damage

  2. Scarring

  3. Unnecessary treatment

They came to this conclusion after reviewing thousands of studies and research papers. One of these studies concluded that full-body skin cancer screenings only reduced the deaths caused by melanoma by a single death per 100,000 individuals that were screened.

This new statement regarding skin cancer screenings was recently published in the journal JAMA. However, it’s pretty much the same as the last statement they issued regarding the matter, which was announced back in 2009.

What is the Preventative Services Task Force?

The Preventative Services Task Force was appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services and consists of experts in the field of preventative medicine and epidemiology. They work independently from the federal agency and are tasked with advising medical professionals on screenings for certain medical conditions.

Who is at risk for skin cancer?

People who are at high risk of skin cancer should consider skin cancer screenings. The following are some of the risk factors:

  1. A family history of the disease

  2. Anyone with more than a hundred moles on their body

  3. White men over the age of 65

Anyone who is at risk for skin cancer may want to ask their doctor about a skin cancer screening. At The Benefits Store, we strive to provide California residents with up-to-date health news and information.


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