Patient gender affects skin cancer screening practices and attitudes among veterans

Daniel G. Federman, Jeffrey D. Kravetz, Fancgchao Ma, Robert S. Kirsner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Skin cancer screening (SCS) with a full body skin examination (FBSE) has the potential to reduce morbidity and mortality. Little is known about gender differences with respect to SCS practices and attitudes between men and women. METHODS: Data from two previously published studies based on questionnaires administered to veterans were combined and analyzed according to patient gender. The participants consisted of a convenience sample of 437 patients awaiting primary care, women's health, or dermatology clinic appointments at the West Haven Veterans Affairs Medical Center. RESULTS: Male veterans were more likely to report undergoing FBSE than female veterans (32 versus 18%), but less likely to perform self-examination (42 versus 48%). Female veterans were more likely to report embarrassment than men, but both genders expressed that providers who perform SCS are thorough. Gender discordance between patient and examining physician is more likely to lead to refusal for women than men (16 versus 2%). CONCLUSION: We found low rates of SCS in both male and female veterans in different clinic settings at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Female veterans are less likely to report undergoing FBSE and more likely than male veterans to perform self-examination for skin cancer, to report embarrassment with FBSE, and refuse FBSE if the examining physician is of the opposite gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-518
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Full body skin examinations
  • Screening
  • Skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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