Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Primary Care-Based Skin Cancer Screening in a Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

Swetter SM, Chang J, Shaub AR, Weinstock MA, Lewis ET, Asch SM. Primary Care-Based Skin Cancer Screening in a Veterans Affairs Health Care System. JAMA dermatology (Chicago, Ill.). 2017 Aug 1; 153(8):797-801.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information vaww.hsrd.research.va.gov/dimensions/

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions



Abstract:

Importance: Skin cancer screening may improve melanoma outcomes and keratinocyte carcinoma morbidity, but little is known about the feasibility of skin cancer training and clinical skin examination (CSE) by primary care practitioners (PCPs) in large health care systems. Objective: To assess the association of skin cancer training and screening by PCPs with dermatology referral patterns and rates of skin biopsies. Design, Setting, and Participants: In this pilot interventional study performed at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, patients 35 years or older scheduled for an annual health habits screen in the PCP general medicine clinics were studied. Interventions: Six PCPs underwent Internet Curriculum for Melanoma Early Detection (INFORMED) training in May 2015, and 5 screened patients during the following 14 months. Main Outcomes and Measures: Proportion of dermatology referrals, subsequent skin biopsies, and PCP diagnostic accuracy for skin cancer or precancer compared with dermatologist diagnosis were assessed in screened patients 14 months before the intervention (February 18, 2014, through April 30, 2015) and after the intervention (June 18, 2015, through August 30, 2016). Results: Among 258 patients offered screening (median age, 70 years; age range, 35-94 years; 255 [98.8%] male), 189 (73.3%) received CSE and 69 (26.7%) declined. A total of 62 of 189 patients (32.8%) were referred to a dermatologist after intervention: 33 (53.2%) for presumptive skin cancers and 15 (24.2%) for precancers. Nine of 50 patients (18.0%) evaluated in dermatology clinic underwent biopsy to exclude skin cancer. Correct diagnoses were made by PCPs in 13 of 38 patients (34.2%; 4 of 27 patients [14.8%] diagnosed with skin cancers and 5 of 11 patients [45.5%] diagnosed with actinic keratoses). Comparison of all outpatient visits for the 5 main participating PCPs before vs after intervention revealed no significant differences in dermatology referrals overall and those for presumptive skin cancer or actinic keratoses, skin biopsies, or PCP diagnostic accuracy with the exception of significantly fewer postintervention dermatology referrals that lacked specific diagnoses (25 [1.0%] vs 10 [0.4%], P? = .01). Conclusions and Relevance: This pilot study suggests that PCP-based skin cancer training and screening are feasible and have the potential to improve PCP diagnostic accuracy without increasing specialty referrals or skin biopsies. Additional studies comparing screening rates, specialty referrals, and patient outcomes in trained vs untrained PCPs are needed before screening is widely implemented in large health care systems in the United States.





Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.