Background: Relatively little is known about the prevalence of skin cancer screening in the context of inconsistent skin cancer screening recommendations.
Methods: To determine the prevalence and predictors of skin cancer screening rates in the U.S. adult population, we used self-reported data from the 1992, 1998, and 2000 National Health Interview Surveys, a nationally representative survey of civilian noninstitutionalized adults.
Results: The percentage of the U.S. adult population who had ever had a skin examination conducted by a doctor was 20.6% in 1992, 20.9% in 1998, and 14.5% in 2000. The percentage with a recent skin examination was 10.3% in 1992, 11.0% in 1998, and 8.0% in 2000. White non-Hispanics reported being screened more frequently than persons in other racial or ethnic groups. Recent skin cancer screening exams were more common among white persons who had a family history of melanoma, had higher education, had usual place of care, and were older (> or =50 years). Frequent use of sunscreen and hats was associated with a recent skin cancer exam.
Conclusions: In the past decade, skin cancer screening rates have been consistently low. Continued monitoring of skin cancer examination is important given conflicting current research results and potentially evolving science.