A skills training intervention, designed to enhance the reliability of skin self-examination between patients with melanoma and their partners, may improve early detection of new melanomas, a study published in JAMA Dermatology has shown.1
More than 1 million patients diagnosed with melanoma in the United States are at risk for developing a second primary melanoma. Because early detection of skin cancer improves survival, patients with melanoma should perform skin self-examinations, in addition to yearly skin examinations by a physician, and notify their clinician when a concerning lesion is detected. Patients are encouraged to perform the self-examination with skin-check partners.
Researchers evaluated the impact of a structured skin self-examination program by enrolling 494 patients with stage 0 to IIB melanoma, as well as their skin-check partners. Partners (dyads) were randomly assigned to receive the skills training program or usual care. The intervention comprised a 30-minute training session at baseline; skills were reinforced at 4-month intervals during skin examination by the physician.
Patients who received the structured skin self-examination skills training intervention had significantly increased skin self-examinations with their partners at 4, 12, and 24 months, in contrast with those in the control arm (P < .001 for all time points).
It was found that patients in the intervention group identified new melanomas in situ (P < .01) and invasive melanoma (P < .05) significantly more than those in the control group, without increasing the number of physician visits.
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“Accurate skin self-examination by those at risk to develop melanoma may enhance early detection and relieve some of the burden on health services to provide continuing follow-up to a growing population of eligible patients,” the authors concluded.
- Robinson JK, Wayne JD, Martini MC, Hultgren BA, Mallett KA, Turrisi R. Early detection of new melanomas by patients with melanoma and their partners using a structured skin self-examination skills training intervention. JAMA Dermatol. 2016. [Epub ahead of print]