Skin cancer screening among U.S. adults from 1992, 1998, and 2000 National Health Interview Surveys

Prev Med. 2004 Aug;39(2):308-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.04.022.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance / statistics & numerical data
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sunburn / diagnosis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology