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Health Care Screening Practices Impact Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Likelihood of being diagnosed with skin cancer increased for those undergoing health care screening

THURSDAY, Dec. 27, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Undergoing health care screening practices is associated with an increased likelihood of being diagnosed with skin cancer, according to a study published online Dec. 26 in JAMA Dermatology.

Aaron M. Drucker, M.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues examined data from 77,736 women from the Nurses’ Health Study with 1,388,523 person-years of follow-up and from 39,756 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study with 635,319 person-years of follow-up.

The researchers observed positive correlations between various screening practices and diagnoses of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), with similar directions of association seen with melanoma. The multivariable hazard ratio associated with undergoing a physical examination was 1.46 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.30 to 1.64) for BCC, 2.32 (95 percent CI, 1.41 to 3.80) for SCC, and 1.66 (95 percent CI, 0.85 to 3.22) for melanoma in the Nurses’ Health Study. The results were similar in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, with multivariable hazard ratios of 1.43 (95 percent CI, 1.26 to 1.63) for BCC, 1.85 (95 percent CI, 1.17 to 2.92) for SCC, and 1.04 (95 percent CI, 0.64 to 1.69) for melanoma in association with undergoing a physical examination.

“Previous studies have found associations between various medical conditions and skin cancer risk without accounting for detection bias; these previous publications should be considered in that light because the associations might be confounded by health screening behavior,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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