University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Age-Appropriate Cancer Screenings Through a Dermatology Lens

Brandon Calley, BS; Philip Berce, MD, PharmD; Catherine K. Chang, BS; Sophia Neman, BA; Ana Maria Viteri, BS; Alexander Means, MD; Olushola L. Akinshemoyin Vaughn, MD

WMJ. 2023;122(4):262-267.

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Background: Primary care physicians are often the first to identify signs and symptoms concerning for cancer. An important aspect of cancer screening is thorough skin examinations and subsequent referral to a dermatologist for atypical cutaneous presentations, which may be associated with an underlying visceral malignancy. Diagnostic considerations for pruritus without dermatitis (“itch without rash”) in adults include senile pruritus, medication reaction, and paraneoplastic syndrome. Recognition of cutaneous manifestations of cancer should prompt cancer screening by primary care providers.

Objective: To update practicing physicians on current cancer screening guidelines with a specific focus on cutaneous clues to prompt further workup.

Methods: American Cancer Society and United States Preventive Services Task Force guidelines were systematically reviewed using PubMed and organizational websites during August and September, 2021, with review of Task Force Guidelines during October, 2022.

Results: Colorectal, cervical, breast, lung, skin, prostate, ovarian, hematologic, pancreatic, thyroid, testicular, bladder, oral, and gastric cancer screening guidelines are summarized.

Conclusions: Primary care physicians can recognize atypical cutaneous conditions and facilitate referral to a dermatologist for evaluation and/or directly order tests themselves to initiate appropriate cancer screening.

Author Affiliations: Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Calley, Berce, Chang, Neman, Viteri); Department of Dermatology, MCW, Milwaukee, Wis (Means, Akinshemoyin Vaughn)
Corresponding Author: Olushola Akinshemoyin Vaughn, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 W Watertown Plank Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226; phone 414.955.3123; email; ORCID ID 0000-0002-6332-9802
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
Funding/Support: None declared.
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