Patients consult a dermatologist for skin disorders like acne, eczema, and rashes. Some doctors conduct necessary physical testing, while others do a complete screening. They do a total body skin exam (TBSE) to diagnose skin cancer, which affects 4.9 million people in the USA. This study estimates the time and money it takes to carry out total body skin examinations, even in low-risk patients.

The study aims to model the financial and time trade-offs in skin cancer screening by dermatologists. Published data from the multicenter, international study is the data for this study. The US demographic data of patients’ age and skin phototype (SPT) are also a part of this study and diverse international patients, for combined detection of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

The results showed that the mean of number needed to examine (NNE) for US adults is 105. The additional cost per skin cancer detection during TBSE is US$3796. The NNE consistently decreased with an increase in the patient’s age and skin tone, and observation was relevant in every age group and SPT screening threshold. The cost per screened person also increased due to an increase in the need for diagnostic biopsies. The additional consultation time per skin cancer detection is 4.5 hours for all adults.

The study concluded that TBSE detects incidental skin cancers. Its value gets enhanced by factoring in risks such as patients’ age and SPT. Senior citizens with light skin tone are more likely to get detected with skin cancer.              

Ref: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjd.19352