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​Dermatologic care in the homeless and underserved populations: observations from the Venice Family Clinic

​Dermatologic care in the homeless and impoverished urban underserved populations is rarely described despite the wide prevalence of skin concerns in this population. Because the homeless population may be subject to increased sun exposure compared to the nonhomeless population, they also may be at increased risk for skin cancer. We sought to describe the spectrum of dermatologic diseases seen in a free clinic in Venice, California–the Venice Family Clinic (VFC)–as well as the differences in diagnoses between the homeless and nonhomeless patients seen at this clinic. A retrospective chart review was performed of dermatology patients (N = 82) seen at VFC throughout the 2006 calendar year. The homeless population (n = 22) was found to have more diagnoses of malignant/premalignant growths (25% [16/64] of all homeless diagnoses) compared to their nonhomeless (n = 60) counterparts (6.1% [8/132] of all nonhomeless diagnoses; P < .0001). This difference was sustained when ethnicity was controlled, with 29.6% [16/54] of diagnoses in the homeless white group consisting of malignant/ premalignant growths compared to 8.9% [4/45] of diagnoses in the nonhomeless white cohort (P < .005). Homeless patients may have a higher incidence of skin cancers and precancerous skin lesions due to increased sun exposure and/or limited access to dermatologic care.

Authors: Grossberg AL; Carranza D, Lamp; K, Chiu MW; Lee C; Craft N

​Cutis. 2012 Jan;89(1):25-32.

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