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Skin cancer screening in Germany – perception by the public


Prof. Dr. Matthias Augustin
CVderm – Competence Center for
Health Services Research in Dermatology
Institute for Health Services Research in
Dermatology and Nursing – IVDP
University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistraße 52
D-20246 Hamburg, Germany
Tel.: +49-40-7410-55-428
Fax: +49-40-7410-55-348


Background: In 2008, community skin cancer screening (cSCS) was introduced into routine care of the German statutory health insurances (SHI). In the meantime, more than 13 million individuals have been screened. To date, no data are available on the perception of cSCS by the general public.

Aim: Evaluation of public perception of cSCS in Germany.

Patients and methods: From 10 to 17th March 2011, a phone survey on a population-based sample of n = 1 014 German adults with SHI status was conducted by the Forsa Institute, including 12 questions on the use, knowledge and attitude regarding cSCS.

Results: Of the interviewees 48 % were concerned about skin cancer, 29 % of all persons and 31 % of those eligible had already undergone cSCS. Of these, a major proportion (80 %) had been screened by dermatologists. Of the interviewees 75 % would (again) consult a dermatologist for the next cSCS, and less than 10 % would consult the general practitioner. Although about 93 % considered health screenings useful, only 44 % were informed about the legal right to undergo free cSCS after the age of 35.

Conclusions: In Germany cSCS is highly accepted in the community. Leading care providers are the dermatologists. Knowledge about the right to free cSCS needs better public propagation.

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