Finnish Study Shows Benefit of Full-Body Skin Exams in Older Adults
Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Of adults 70 years of age and older, about three-quarters had at least one skin disease requiring follow-up or further treatment and nearly 40% had three or more simultaneous skin diseases, according to the results of a cross-sectional study of 552 Finnish adults between the ages of 70 and 93 who underwent whole-body clinical skin examinations by dermatologists. The statistics seem to confirm the importance of such exams in this population, for whom skin disorders are “extremely common,” noted Laura Huilaja, MD, PhD, of the University Hospital of Oulu, Finland, and colleagues in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Malignancies were discovered during the exams. Specifically, basal cell carcinoma, Bowen’s disease, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma were found in 28, 9, 2, and 3 individuals, respectively. Cumulative years of ultraviolet light exposure may also increase the risk of skin cancer and melanoma, the authors noted.
The most common skin findings in the study were benign tumors. Of them, seborrheic keratoses were identified most often, with 78.8% of the population having at least one and 15.8% having at least 50, according to Dr. Huilaja and co-investigators. The most common skin diseases revealed were tinea pedis (48.6%), onychomycosis (29.9%), rosacea (25.6%), actinic keratosis (22.3%), and asteatotic eczema (20.8%). Skin diseases were significantly more common in men than in women (P < .001).
A limitation of the research was that fewer than half of the 1,239 people invited to undergo skin examinations chose to participate. The project was part of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study.
Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.