Researchers from the U.S. Preventive Services declared they are not completely sure whether full-body screening procedures to identify cancer, are safe or efficient to decrease the number of deaths from the disease.
Declarations come after there have been some discussions about how to create an equilibrium between detecting tumors that can be dangerous before they can hurt people, and preventing tests and treatments that could be unnecessary. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) actualized recommendations on screen cancer screening.
Dr. Mark Ebell, a task force member and researcher at the University of Georgia, said by email to Reuters, that after a profound examination of the benefits and harms of full-body screening, there wasn’t enough evidence that demonstrated with assurance whether the exam prevented or not deaths from melanoma.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In 2015, approximately 74,000 men and women were diagnosed with the disease. From that number, about 9,940 will die, which is about 13 percent of the people.
It seems that screenings could damage people’s skins when they pass through unnecessary biopsies, scarring or damaging, which can affect feeling or range of motion. On the other hand, people with potential symptoms like color changing in moles or history of skin cancer should recur to screening exams.
Results show that after following 360,000 adults for 10 years that received body screenings, the risk of dying from melanoma in the regions analyzed in the study, decreased by 48 percent in comparison with areas that weren’t screened. However, for every 100,000 people screened, the complete reduction in risk amounted to about 1 less melanoma death, Reuters stated relating to the study.
That being said, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stressed they will not opt to make recommendations against or for them in the draft report on melanoma screenings.
“Individuals who notice any unusual spots on their skin, including those that are changing, itching or bleeding, should make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. Additionally, people with an increased risk of melanoma or a history of skin cancer should talk to a dermatologist to determine how often they should receive a skin exam from a doctor,” Dr. Mark Lebwohl, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said by email to Reuters.
Researchers remarked that new studies and investigations were needed in order to know the efficacy of screening for people in order to prevent skin cancer. They also said people should talk to their doctors about their skin problems as more research is done in the field of body-screenings.
“The Task Force is dedicated to helping Americans avoid skin cancer and lead healthy lives. Until we have more research to better understand the balance of benefits and harms of a clinical visual skin exam, we encourage patients to talk to their doctor about any concerns they have about their skin,” said Dr. Michael Pignone, a member of the USPSTF, in a press release.