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HHS HealthBeat (January 24, 2011)

Less embarrassment, more exam

Doctor examining patient’s back
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

When a doctor checks you for skin cancer, the doctor looks at your skin – all of it. This can be so embarrassing for some people that doctors don’t always do it – to spare those patients the embarrassment.

Researcher Susan Oliveria at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City saw that in a survey of doctors. But without screening, skin cancers might not be caught early, when the potential for cure is greatest.

Oliveria says doctors can ease the embarrassment by giving patients written material in advance. She advises patients:

``They could ask their physician. They could talk to nurses or nurse practitioners prior to the actual physician screening, and also read any written materials that might be provided to them.’’ (9 seconds)

The study in Archives of Dermatology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: May 7, 2011