Background Benefits of skin cancer screening remain controversial. Objective We sought to update evidence on the impact of skin cancer screening and secondary prevention campaigns on skin cancer incidence, mortality, stage-specific incidence, and interval cancers after negative screening. Methods We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE for studies published in English or German between January 1, 2005, and February 4, 2015. Two reviewers independently performed study selection, data extraction, and critical appraisal. Results were described in a narrative synthesis. Results Of 2066 records identified in databases and 10 records found by manual search, we included 15 articles. Overall, evidence suggests that with implementation of skin cancer screening, incidence of in situ and invasive skin cancer increased; increasing rates of thin and decreasing rates of thick melanoma were observed. After cessation of screening, invasive melanoma incidence decreased. A significant melanoma mortality reduction was shown in a German study; 2 other studies observed fewer deaths than expected. No study on interval cancers was identified. Limitations Publication bias cannot be ruled out. Most studies are limited because of their ecological design. Conclusion Large ecological studies, a cohort study, a case-control study, and a survey indicate benefits of skin cancer screening, but the evidence level is very low.
Research Areas and Centers
- Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)