The training of patients with melanoma and their partners in early detection skin self-examinations (SSE) benefited those patients and their partners with low relationship quality more than others, a new study published online ahead of print in JAMA Dermatology has shown.1

Because training patients with early stage melanoma who are at risk for developing new melanomas to perform SSE may improve survival, researchers at The Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA, sought to determine for whom an educational intervention benefits most in a sample of patients with melanoma and their skin-check partners.

For the study, researchers enrolled 494 patients with stage 0 to 2B melanoma and their skin-check partners in ambulatory care dermatologic offices. Dyads of patients and their partners were randomly assigned to receive the training intervention or customary care. Follow-up assessments were performed at 12 months.

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Results showed that everyone receiving the intervention experienced some benefit; however, those with below-average relationship quality and happiness experienced the greatest improvements in SSE self-efficacy.

Researchers found that patient-partner agreeability and partner motivation did not significantly impact the effects of the intervention on patients’ SSE self-efficacy.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 73,870 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the United States in 2015 and about 9,940 people are expected to die from the disease.


  1. Hultgren BA, Turrisi R, Mallett KA, et al. Influence of quality of relationship between patient with melanoma and partner on partner-assisted skin examination education [published online ahead of print September 30, 2015]. JAMA Dermatol. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.2819.