ABOUT THIS COURSE:
SUMMARY Skin cancer currently affects millions of people each year, and is a significant public health challenge with an incidence reaching epidemic proportions. Many health care providers, including nurse practitioners, have expressed a concern that they are not optimally prepared with the current knowledge related to skin cancer prevention and early detection. Skin cancers are by far the most common malignancy of humans with over a million cases detected each year. Basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and malignant melanomas are the three most common types. Although research has increased our knowledge of melanoma, the disease remains fatal. Skin cancer is 98% curable if diagnosed early with survival rates decreasing to 15% if detected later in disease. All health care providers, including nurse practitioners (NPs), are expected to evaluate for skin cancer at regular scheduled appointments. Nurses play a key role in patient education and should use evidence-based resources to provide skin cancer prevention recommendations. The link between skin cancer and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is well documented. Primary skin cancer prevention must focus on proven ways to reduce the amount of UVR that reaches the skin, including avoiding UVR, covering up, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and use of sunscreen. Secondary prevention includes check-ups, early detection, and early treatment when needed. GOAL/PURPOSE: A basic knowledge of recommended skin examination guidelines and risk factors for skin cancer provides nurses with valuable tools to guide patient care decisions and influence patient education. The goal of this activity is to provide nurses with a clearer understanding of the types of skin cancer most often encountered during assessment, to improved awareness of the risk factors associated with the disease, and to increase nursing knowledge of current evidence-based diagnostic and treatment modalities.