Skin cancer screening

Phys Ther. 2002 Dec;82(12):1232-7.


Background: Skin cancer is the most common malignancy occurring in humans, affecting 1 in 5 Americans at some time during their lives. Early detection of cancerous lesions is important for reducing morbidity and mortality.

Case description: The patient was a 79-year-old woman who was receiving physical therapy for cervical stenosis. The physical therapist identified a mole with suspicious characteristics, using the ABCD checklist for skin cancer screening. The patient was referred to her primary care physician, and the lesion was removed and identified as basal cell carcinoma.

Outcomes: Early detection of this lesion allowed for complete excision, with no further treatment of the area warranted.

Discussion: Physical therapists can aid in detection of suspect lesions with knowledge of the basic screening techniques for skin cancer, which may help reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by these lesions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Physical Therapy Specialty
  • Professional Role
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Spinal Stenosis / epidemiology
  • Spinal Stenosis / rehabilitation