Skin Cancer Screening Practices Among Dermatologists: A Survey Study

J Drugs Dermatol. 2022 Nov 1;21(11):1235-1241. doi: 10.36849/JDD.6660.


Background: The United States Preventative Task Force (USPTF) has concluded that the benefit of skin cancer screenings is inconclusive. A systematic review found that implementing skin cancer screening increased detection of in situ and thin melanoma, increased incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer detection, and decreased rates of thick melanoma. However, only one of the studies reviewed found a reduction in melanoma mortality. Evidence is notably unclear for the exact benefits of preventative skin cancer screening.

Objective: This study intends to discover the current skin cancer screening practices and recommendations of dermatologists.

Methods: A 20-question “Skin Cancer Screening Survey” was developed and sent to the American College of Mohs Surgery.

Results: 124 dermatologists completed the survey. The majority of physicians (77.4%) said they perform routine skin cancer screening exams. 37.9 % of respondents noted that they recommend routine skin cancer screenings to all their patients, while 27.4 % of participants recommend screening only patients with a risk factor. Most of the respondents (52.4%) stated that they do not follow any specific guidelines regarding routine skin cancer screenings. The majority selected that they usually perform full body skin exams (69.4%). Of those who answered that they do follow guidelines, most followed the American Academy of Dermatology guidelines (48.5%). 42.7% of respondents were aware of the USPTF recommendations regarding routine skin cancer screening.

Discussion: The results demonstrate variability in real world practice of skin cancer screening exams. There is imperative need for evidence-based uniform guidelines to drive accurate and unbiased preventative practice behaviors in the United States. J Drugs Dermatol. 2022;21(11):1235-1241. doi:10.36849/JDD.6660.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatologists
  • Dermatology* / methods
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Humans
  • Melanoma* / diagnosis
  • Melanoma* / epidemiology
  • Melanoma* / prevention & control
  • Skin Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology