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Routine Skin Cancer Screenings Considered Risky

Update Date: Dec 14, 2015 09:35 AM EST
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The routine full body skin cancer screening is considered to be unsafe since there is not enough evidence to prove otherwise. The new guidelines proposed by U.S. are aiming at preventing deaths that are caused as a result of these melanomas. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said, as a part of its recommendations made in an updated draft on skin cancer, that a balance is required between early diagnosis of these deadly tumors and avoiding unnecessary tests that may be caused from catching too many harmless irregularities. "After an in-depth review of the benefits and harms of this preventive service, the task force found that there isn't enough evidence to know with adequate certainty whether a full-body visual skin screening exam by a doctor does or does not prevent deaths from melanoma," Dr. Mark Ebell, a task force member and researcher at the University of Georgia, said by email, as reported by Reuters.

Changing the 2009 guidelines, the task force recommends that the patients should stop conducting self-exams. It also recommends that the patients should be offered guidance about the skin cancer which the screening guidelines do not address. However, Dr. Adam Friedman, a fellow's ambassador for the New York Academy of Medicine and dermatology researcher at George Washington University, says that to eliminate annual screenings is also not recommended. "This is not analogous to saying that this integral part of cancer surveillance is ineffective or harmful," Friedman said by email. "Individuals who notice any unusual spots on their skin, including those that are changing, itching or bleeding, should make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist," said Dr. Mark Lebwohl, president of the American Academy of Dermatology by email. "Additionally, people with an increased risk of melanoma or a history of skin cancer should talk to a dermatologist to determine how often they should receive a skin exam from a doctor," as reported by Fox News.

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