Could a Workplace Screening Program Be Effective for Melanoma Prevention?
Health fairs and flu shot clinics are commonplace in the work environment. If routine healthcare can be received during working hours at the worksite, it avoids the cost and time of traveling to a provider for services. Given that the prognosis for skin cancer is dependent on the stage in which it’s identified, secondary prevention activities (i.e. screening) are important factors that can contribute to ensuring early and curative treatment. Certain countries that have high incidence of melanoma have increased insurance coverage for skin cancer screenings to increase the number of people who have the opportunity for secondary prevention. By increasing health insurance coverage of screenings, several studies have shown a decline in the melanoma mortality rate. Adding screening to the work setting introduces the possibility of examining high numbers of individuals quickly and effectively. These programs particularly make sense for a workplace where increased exposure to UV radiation is the norm. In a recent study conducted in Germany, researchers piloted an employee screening program to determine the importance and effectiveness of employee skin cancer screening programs and the role they may play in secondary prevention of skin cancer.
Employees of a technical company in Germany were offered a skin cancer screening performed at the worksite by 5 trained dermatologists. The program in this study generated a high level of interest, with all available appointments booked within 36 hours after the screening was announced, and there was a large waiting list. Of 783 participants included in this study, 377 displayed at least 1 categorized skin lesion with the majority being suspicious melanocytic nevi. The authors concluded that this high rate of suspicious skin lesions diagnosed demonstrated the effectiveness of skin cancer screenings organized in the workplace. They further suggest that such screenings should be recommended for all employees, not only those who are at high risk for developing skin cancer due to the nature of their work. Despite the limitations of the study, they state that these examinations provide evidence of the importance of skin cancer screening programs for a wider population.
Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C
Posted: September 19, 2016
Adapted from the original article.