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Thorough Exams a Must for Those at High Risk of Skin Cancer
Date:1/17/2011

as were diagnosed at the earliest stages: 70 percent at stage zero and 30 percent at stage IA. In the referral group, about 28 percent of melanomas were diagnosed at stage zero, 37.6 percent at stage IA, nearly 13 percent at stage IB, about 11 percent at stage II, 8.5 percent at stage III, and 2.4 percent at stage IV.

The study was published online Monday but will appear in the journal's May print edition.

The second study, appearing in the January issue of the journal, found that patient embarrassment, time constraints and other health conditions may prevent doctors from conducting regular full-body skin examinations of their patients.

It also found that dermatologists are much more likely than internists and family doctors to conduct these screenings for skin cancer.

Researchers analyzed survey responses from 679 dermatologists, 559 family practitioners (doctors specializing in family medicine), and 431 internists from across the United States. The results showed that regular full-body skin examinations of patients were conducted by 81.3 percent of dermatologists, compared to only 59.6 percent of family practitioners and 56.4 percent of internists.

The most common reasons for not performing this type of examination were patient embarrassment/reluctance, time constraints, and other patient illnesses.

Time constraints were cited by 54.5 percent of internists and 54.4 percent of family practitioners, as compared to only about 31 percent of dermatologists. Patient embarrassment/reluctance was cited by about 44 percent of dermatologists, nearly 33 percent of internists and just over 31 percent of family practitioners.

Identifying these barriers can help health providers overcome them, said a team led by Susan A. Oliveria of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City.

Green agreed that the full-body skin exam should be a must for anyone at risk of skin cancer.

"I have one rule in my office. All new
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