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Multiple Methods Improve Use of Skin Cancer Self-Exam

Videos, shower cards, a helpful health educator all improve self-exam rates

THURSDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Several components of the Check-It-Out trial, which entailed a multi-pronged approach to promoting thorough skin self-examination to check for melanoma, were effective, according to study findings published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Katherine B. Lee, of the VA Medical Center in Providence, R.I., and colleagues conducted a study of 567 participants who were randomized into a skin examination intervention group and who reported at baseline that they did not perform thorough skin self-examinations.

Subjects who watched a video provided by the health educator or reported using a hand mirror, a shower card, sample photos or a brochure from the American Cancer Society were more likely to perform a skin exam, the researchers report. Of those who reported not performing a thorough skin self-examination at baseline, the investigators found, two, six and 12 months after the study began, 47 percent, 50 percent and 49 percent, respectively, were doing so.

"Our finding that older persons were more likely to use the video and American Cancer Society brochure is particularly relevant for skin cancer prevention as melanoma incidence and mortality increase with age," the authors write. "The finding that the shower card and refrigerator magnet were more likely to be used by women than by men suggests that cues targeted to men would be useful in developing future interventions."

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