Julie Williams Merten, PhD, Hanadi Hamadi, PhD, Meghann Wheeler
Dr. Julie Williams Merten | Brooks College of Health | Department of Public Health
Background: Despite the lack of national skin cancer screening recommendations, a total body skin examination by a healthcare provider may detect skin cancer earlier allowing for more effective treatment and better outcomes.
Objective: Examine prevalence, demographic, and cancer risk perceptions of adults who have had a skin examination performed by a healthcare provider.
Methods: Retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults using the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). Logistic regressions were performed to identify associations between having a skin examination, risk perceptions, and demographic variables.
Results: Approximately 46% of the sample reported having a skin examination. Females, college graduates, those with a history of skin cancer, people who check their skin for signs of skin cancer, and adults over the age of 45 were more likely to have a skin examination. The people least likely to be screened were those not wanting to know their chances of getting cancer. Limitations: HINTS is a cross-sectional survey which provides only a glimpse of predictors.
Conclusions: The findings are consistent with other studies that people sometimes avoid cancer risk information. An educational intervention focused on the benefits of early cancer detection would benefit people that report not wanting to know their chances of getting cancer.