The impact of the basic skin cancer triage curriculum on providers' skills, confidence, and knowledge in skin cancer control

Prev Med. 2002 Feb;34(2):144-52. doi: 10.1006/pmed.2001.0961.


Background: Primary care providers (PCPs) are in the unique position of being able to deliver preventive health care services to the majority of the general population. Early detection of skin cancer may reduce mortality, but many PCPs do not participate in skin cancer control activities due to lack of training and confidence. We sought to evaluate the effect of a 2-h, Basic Skin Cancer Triage (BSCT) curriculum in overcoming these barriers.

Methods: A convenience sample of 28 primary care providers participated in a 2-h training curriculum. Assessments included skills (evaluated by a 20-item slide quiz), confidence, knowledge, and attitudes measured pre- and post training.

Results: Provider ability to accurately diagnose and triage lesions significantly improved (46 to 64%, P < 0.0001, and 61 to 71%, P < 0.0001, respectively). The greatest improvement in triage ability occurred in providers ability to appropriately reassure patients about lesions (49 to 70%, P < 0.0001). There were also significant improvements in both knowledge of skin cancer control practices (68 to 74% correct answers, P = 0.026) and confidence in ability to provide skin cancer preventive services (2.95 to 4.13 on a 1 to 5 scale, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Participation in the BSCT curriculum may improve providers' diagnostic and triage accuracy of skin cancer as well as increase their knowledge of skin cancer and confidence in their provision of skin cancer control activities. Defining the full potential impact of this curriculum requires further evaluation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Counseling
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Program Evaluation
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Triage / standards*
  • United States