Skin Cancer Screening and Prevention in the Primary Care Setting National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey 1997

Authors

  • Susan A. Oliveria ScD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. From the Department of Medicine, Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY (SAO, PJC, AAM, ACH).
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  • Paul J. Christos MPH, MS,

    1. From the Department of Medicine, Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY (SAO, PJC, AAM, ACH).
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  • Ashfaq A. Marghoob MD,

    1. From the Department of Medicine, Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY (SAO, PJC, AAM, ACH).
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  • Allan C. Halpern MD, MPH

    1. From the Department of Medicine, Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY (SAO, PJC, AAM, ACH).
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  • Presented as an abstract at the Annual Meeting, International DermatoEpidemiology Association, Chicago, Ill, May 2000.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Oliveria: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave., Box 99, New York, NY 10021.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe skin cancer prevention and screening activities in the primary care setting and to compare these findings to other cancer screening and prevention activities.

DESIGN:

Descriptive study.

SETTING/PATIENTS:

National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey 1997 data on office-based physician visits to family practitioners and internists.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

Data were obtained on 784 primary care visits to 109 family practitioners and 61 internists. We observed that the frequency of skin cancer prevention and screening activities in the primary care setting was much lower than other cancer screening and prevention activities. Skin examination was reported at only 15.8% of all visits (17.4% for family practitioners vs 13.6% for internists, P > .1). For other cancer screening, the frequencies were as follows: breast examination, 30.3%; Papanicolaou test, 25.3%; pelvic examination, 27.6%; and rectal examination, 17.9%. Skin cancer prevention in the form of education and counseling was reported at 2.3% of these visits (2.9% for family practitioners vs 1.5% for internists, P > .1), while education on breast self-examination, diet and nutrition, tobacco use, and exercise was 13.0%, 25.3%, 5.7%, and 17.9%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of this study indicate that the proportion of primary care visits in which skin cancer screening and prevention occurs is low. Strategies to increase skin cancer prevention and screening by family practitioners and internists need to be considered.

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