Task Force: There’s Insufficient Evidence To Recommend Routine Skin Cancer Screenings
There was immediate push back following the announcement. "Dermatologists know that skin cancer screenings can save lives," said Abel Torres, president of American Academy of Dermatology.
Los Angeles Times:
Visual Checks For Melanoma Get A Shrug
A federal task force that assesses the value of medical screening tests says it can't judge whether skin-cancer checks by dermatologists are worth the trouble for healthy Americans because good research on the practice is lacking. The finding of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is not a repudiation of the practice recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology, in which a medical professional inspects a patient’s skin for moles, thickening, discoloration or tags that might be cancerous. But the task force does say there are not enough well-conducted studies to establish the practice saves lives without incurring undue risks for patients. And it could influence health insurers not to cover skin-cancer screenings for people who have no history of the disease. (Healy, 7/26)
Gov’t Task Force Finds Evidence Lacking To Support Visual Skin Cancer Screenings
Dr. Michael Pignone, a task force member and chair at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, emphasized that this finding does not mean screenings have no benefit and no harm. “It’s a statement that the evidence isn’t good enough,” he said. The task force, an independent volunteer panel of medical experts, reviews current scientific evidence for specific preventive services and makes recommendations about that services’ effectiveness for patients who don’t have obvious symptoms or aren’t at high risk. (Heredia Rodriguez, 7/26)