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      Skin cancer screening campaign in the German speaking Community of Belgium.

      Acta clinica Belgica

      Adolescent, Adult, Age Distribution, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Belgium, epidemiology, Child, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, Female, Germany, ethnology, Humans, Incidence, Male, Mass Screening, organization & administration, Melanoma, diagnosis, Middle Aged, Precancerous Conditions, Program Development, Program Evaluation, Risk Factors, Sex Distribution, Skin Neoplasms

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          The incidence of primary malignant melanoma (MM) and skin carcinomas, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), is progressively raising. As long as their diagnosis and therapeutic managements are initiated early, their prognosis remains favorable. This underlines the importance of early recognition of skin cancers. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that skin cancer screening programs are efficacious in increasing the population awareness of the early signs of skin cancer and of the dangers of UV - exposure. A skin cancer screening campaign was organised by dermatologists of the German-speaking Community of Belgium in cooperation with the Department of Family, Health, and Social Affairs of the Regional Ministry of the German-speaking Community of Belgium. In order to increase the screening selectivity, two risk populations were targeted; patients presenting 30 or more moles, and patients over 50 years of age presenting recent skin changes of the head and neck area. A media campaign using radio, television and daily press was started to increase the population awareness of the dangers of UV exposure and of the early signs of skin cancer. During 2 screening days, three-hour sessions were organised in 2 health centers located in Eupen and St Vith. A total of 148 patients were examined. A total of 124/148 patients met the selection criteria predefined during the media announcement. The simultaneous presence of 4 dermatologists during the screening sessions allowed a second opinion for warning lesions. Four BBCs as well as 23 patients pesenting dysplastic nevi were clinically diagnosed. During the 2 months following the screening campaign 5 MMs were identified by the same dermatologists in their routine practice. In conclusion, this skin cancer screening campaign led to the diagnosis of 4 carcinomas. The campaign furthermore increased the patient awareness, permitting the diagnosis of 5 MMs during the 2 following months. This figure represents about 30% of all MMs diagnosed yearly in this region of Belgium.

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