To document physician clinical and personal skin cancer prevention practices and associated characteristics.
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey of a representative sample of US women physicians.
Three thousand thirty-two nondermatologists and 95 dermatologists.
Main Outcome Measure
Personal and clinical practices.
Twenty-seven percent of nondermatologists counseled or screened their typical patients on skin cancer or sunscreen use at least once a year, while 49% did so less frequently, and 24% never counseled or screened at all. Of the 95 dermatologists, two thirds reported counseling or screening their typical patients at every visit. In bivariate analysis of nondermatologists, the distribution of counseling or screening was significantly (P<.05) associated with the following personal and professional characteristics: frequent sunscreen use, recent (within 2 years) skin examination, good health status, a primary care specialty, self-confidence in counseling or screening, extensive training in counseling or screening, high perceived relevance to the practice of the counseling or screening, nonurban practice site, and non–hospital-based or non–medical school–based practice. We found that 48% of all physicians always or nearly always used sunscreen, and 25% had received a clinical skin examination in the previous 2 years.
Although many primary care physicians report ever counseling or screening their typical patients about skin cancer and sunscreen use, increased professional education for primary care physicians could improve patient counseling about skin cancer prevention.