Time constraints, competing comorbidities, and patient embarrassment were cited by primary-care clinicians and dermatologists as the top three barriers to performing full-body skin examinations on patients.

As the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States, skin cancer constitutes a significant public health problem (Arch Dermatol. 2011;147:39-44). Therefore, patients must adhere to primary prevention behaviors and clinicians must practice secondary prevention strategies aimed at early detection.

Researchers surveyed family practitioners, internists, and dermatologists to determine barriers to and facilitating factors of skin-cancer screening practices among these providers. Evaluation of the 1,669 responses yielded not only the top barriers to performing skin checks, but also the top three facilitating factors: having patients at high risk for skin cancer, patient demand for complete examination/mole check, and the influence of medical training.

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“Becoming more knowledgeable about physician barriers to skin-cancer screening could help improve primary and secondary practices in both the primary-care and dermatology settings,” concluded the authors.