How to conduct a skin cancer screening

 

Below are tips, recommendations, and answers to frequently asked questions that will help make your skin cancer screening a success.

1. Establishing protocol: Prior to the screening, it is a good idea to spend a few minutes with each volunteer to talk about expectations for the screening and establishing a workflow and plan for seeing the patients.

2. Screening equipment: It is recommended to ask each doctor to bring equipment, such as magnifying and lighted headwear, to the screening because the location might not have optimum lighting.

3. Planning the logistics of the screening: Think about the venue for the screening and the type of screening that will be conducted. Are you only examining exposed areas? Is there privacy (individual exam rooms)? Decide how best to organize your workflow to not only communicate the message of sun safety but also to screen and talk with as many people as possible. Also consider the following:

  • Seek permission from the management of the screening location to hold the screening.
  • Recruit dermatologists and volunteers early.
  • Arrange publicity: Once the program is established and the specific details are finalized, prepare a news release for local media.

4. Patient check-in process: Some screenings are open to the public as first-come, first-served, whereas others are by appointment only. If it is by appointment, remember to bring the appointment list with designated names and times so you can confirm that the individual has made his or her appointment.

If your screening will have scheduled appointment times as well as walk-ins if space allows, have a check-in location for both, giving priority to those who have an appointment. If time allows, call participants to remind them about their appointment the day before the screening.

If you have a walk-in process, put the clipboards with the paperwork “in queue” to keep track of the order in which the patients returned their clipboards and then determine which patient is next.

5. Patient check-out process: Come equipped with the following to expedite the process:

  • Manila file folders: To help expedite the check-out process, it is recommended to have a file folder for the Academy’s pink copies of the form as well as file folders for each of the doctors. 
  • Address labels: Every screening form needs to have the screening doctor’s complete name, mailing address and signature on the form. Consider creating labels ahead of time and affixing them to all copies of each form at the time of check-out.

6. Screening area: Participants should be seated in a comfortable area where they can fill out the Academy’s Melanoma/Skin Cancer Screening Program Registration and Report Forms, and an assistant should be available to help answer any questions.

  • If possible, arrange for educational information to be shared while participants are waiting to be screened. This could include a nurse teaching how to do a skin-self examination, a PowerPoint presentation or a video. Make sure you have the necessary equipment for these presentations.

7. Screening support: Recruiting dermatologists can be difficult, so start as early as possible (at least one to two months in advance). Consider the following resources for support:

  • The local American Cancer Society or other volunteer groups. This is helpful in establishing a feeling of area-wide cooperation instead of competition among participating organizations, and can provide added support for logistics and media relations.
  • Contact your local dermatologic association and invite its members to participate.
  • Because your office staff will become involved with the project, discuss it with them beforehand to share your enthusiasm and get their ideas for planning the screening.

8. Media relations: You are encouraged to promote your skin cancer screening. News releases and other sample materials are available to help you.