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Open Access Research article

Low rate of dermatology outpatient visits in Asian-Americans: an initial survey study for associated patient-related factors

Bharathi Lingala, Shufeng Li, Ashley Wysong, Allison K Truong, David Kim and Anne Lynn S Chang*

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology, Stanford University, Pavilion C, 2nd Floor, 450 Broadway St, Redwood City 94063, CA, USA

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BMC Dermatology 2014, 14:13  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-14-13

Published: 2 August 2014



Asian-Americans represent the fastest growing minority group in the United States, but are under-represented patients in outpatient dermatology clinics. At the same time, skin cancer rates in individuals of Asian descent are increasing, but skin cancer detection appears to be delayed in Asian-Americans compared to white individuals. Some health-care provider related factors for this phenomenon have been reported in the literature, but the patient-related factors are unclear.


This exploratory study to identify patient-related factors associated with dermatology visits in Asian-Americans was performed after Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. An anonymous, online survey utilizing validated items was conducted on adults who self-identified as Asian-American in Northern California. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression for dermatology visits as indicated by responses to the question of “ever having had skin checked by a dermatologist” were performed on survey responses pertaining to demographic information, socioeconomic factors, acculturation, knowledge of melanoma warning signs and SSE belief and practice.


89.7% of individuals who opened the online survey completed the items, with 469 surveys included in the analysis. Only 60% reported ever performing a SSE, and only 48% reported ever having a skin examination by a dermatologist. Multivariate models showed that “ever performing SSE” (p < 0.0001), marital status (p = 0.02), family history of skin cancer (p = 0.03) and generation in the United States (p = 0.02) were significant predictors of the primary outcome of “ever had skin checked by a dermatologist”.


Identification of patient-related factors that associate with dermatology clinic visits in Asian-Americans is important so that this potential gap in dermatologic care can be better addressed through future studies.

Dermatology; Skin cancer; Early detection; Acculturation; Asian-Americans; Skin self-examination; Dermatology visits; Prevention; Ethnic skin