BACKGROUND: Germany-wide skin cancer screening was introduced in 2008 to reduce skin cancer mortality and morbidity. However, the effectiveness of the program is still unclear. We explore the relationship between early-stage melanoma incidence and melanoma mortality in subsequent years, using early-stage melanoma incidence as surrogate for screening participation and early detection.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Data on melanoma incidence for 2005-2016 and melanoma mortality for 2005-2018 were obtained for 244 German counties. We investigated the correlation between several measures of incidence and mortality with correlation analyses and linear regressions.

RESULTS: Melanoma incidence of early stages (in situ and T1) rose by 69% between pre-screening (2005-2007) and screening period (2008-2010). In contrast, there was no temporal trend in mortality over time. Correlation coefficients between incidence and mortality variables ranged between -0.14 and 0.10 (not significant). Linear regression indicated that mortality 6 years after screening introduction decreases with increasing change in early-stage incidence (b = -0.0029, 95% confidence interval [-0.0066, 0.0007]).

CONCLUSIONS: The estimated population-based effects of skin cancer screening on melanoma mortality were minimal and not significant. A potential effectiveness cannot be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft = Journal of the German Society of Dermatology : JDDG
Issue numberS5
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 12.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)
  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-02 Public Health, Health Services Research and Social Medicine
  • 205-14 Haematology, Oncology

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