Increased effectiveness of targeted skin cancer screening in the Veterans Affairs population of Northern California PREVENTIVE MEDICINE Swetter, S. M., Waddell, B. L., Vazquez, B. D., Khosravi, V. S. 2003; 36 (2): 164-171


Skin cancer screening in populations at increased risk may be more useful than mass screening. We assessed the effectiveness of screening a targeted population in the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) for skin cancer/precancer detection and follow-up.We studied the demographics, presumptive diagnoses, and outcome of 374 participants in free screening clinics conducted over a 3-year period in multiple northern California sites. The number of attendees with presumptive actinic keratosis (AK), basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), dysplastic nevus (DN), and melanoma was noted.Three hundred sixty-two males and 12 females were screened (mean age 63.4 years); 74% were Caucasian. Two hundred three individuals (54%) had a positive screen including 139 (52%) with presumptive AK, 41 (11%) with BCC, 9 (2%) with SCC, and 14 (4%) with DN versus potential melanoma. One hundred one (50%) of referred individuals were subsequently evaluated by VAPAHCS dermatologists. Biopsy was performed in 34/36 cases (94%), with a positive predictive value of 62% in patients with suspected BCC, 43% for SCC, 37.5% for DN and 12.5% for melanoma.Targeting a predominantly elderly Caucasian population with minimal to no prior dermatologic care yielded high rates of detection for precancers, skin cancer, and atypical nevi, and resulted in an increased percentage of pathologically confirmed nonmelanoma skin cancer, particularly BCC, compared to prior screening studies and population-based cancer registries.

View details for DOI 10.1016/S0091-7435(02)00027-0

View details for Web of Science ID 000181261700005

View details for PubMedID 12590991