Rates of skin cancer screening and prevention counseling by US medical residents

Arch Dermatol. 2009 Oct;145(10):1131-6. doi: 10.1001/archdermatol.2009.242.


Objective: To determine factors related to residents' self-reported skill level for the skin cancer examination (SCE).

Design: Survey of residents in November 2003.

Setting: Four US residency programs.

Participants: Medical residents in family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and internal medicine and specialists.

Main outcome measure: Proportion of residents reporting their current skill level for the performance of the SCE.

Results: Of 454 surveys distributed, 342 residents completed the survey (75.3% response rate). Clinical training for the SCE during residency was infrequent. During residency, 75.8% were never trained in the SCE, 55.3% never observed an SCE, and 57.4% never practiced the examination. Only 15.9% of residents reported being skilled in the SCE. However, the conduct of 4 SCEs (or slightly more than 1 per each year of residency) was associated with manifold increases in self-reported skill levels.

Conclusions: Information now collected from 7 medical schools and 4 residency programs underscores the need for more supervised opportunities to enable physicians in training to perform an SCE during routine patient examinations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum / standards
  • Dermatology / education*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Mass Screening / trends
  • Needs Assessment
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Physical Examination / standards
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Primary Prevention / standards
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States