Skin cancer screening guidelines can seem confusing – three skin cancer researchers explain when to consider getting checked

Source: The Conversation, August 2023

Protecting oneself from the summer sun and its damaging ultraviolet rays is often not straightforward. And public health messaging around when and how to be screened for skin cancer has become somewhat confusing.

In April 2023, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent national panel of science experts, provided updated recommendations on skin cancer screening following a systematic review of existing research. The task force concluded that the evidence does not support annual widespread skin screening of adolescents and adults, but that catching cancers at the earliest stages reduces the risk of death from skin cancer.

At first glance, these statements appear conflicting. So The Conversation asked dermatology experts Enrique Torchia, Tamara Terzian and Neil Box to help unravel the task force recommendations, what they mean for the public and how people can minimize their skin cancer risk.