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Skin Examination Practices Among Melanoma Survivors and Their Children

Abstract

Many professional organizations recommend skin self-examination (SSE) as a tool for early detection of malignancy among melanoma survivors, a growing population that is at increased risk for new or recurrent melanoma. This study examined the frequency and correlates of SSE use among melanoma survivors. Additionally, we assessed skin exam use among children of survivors, who are at elevated lifetime risk for the disease. The California Cancer Registry was used to identify melanoma survivors, who were contacted, screened for eligibility, and invited to participate in a survey. The survey, administered by mail, web, or telephone, assessed a broad range of topics related to melanoma prevention in high-risk families. The present study focuses on skin examination practices of survivors and their children and potential correlates of these practices. Among a sample of 316 melanoma survivors, fewer than one in five participants performed monthly skin self-exams, a lower rate than that observed in previous studies. Although greater family history of melanoma, use of skin protection strategies, and the perceived severity of melanom were associated with more frequent use of skin self-exams, these relationships disappeared in adjusted analyses. Participants reported unexpectedly frequent use of skin examinations for their children despite the lack of professional guidelines for this practice. Interventions are needed to improve skin self-examination practices among melanoma survivors and to counsel parents about optimal melanoma prevention strategies for their children.

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Acknowledgments

Studying funding is provided by the National Institutes of Health, R03CA134205, with B. Glenn as the Principal Investigator.

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Correspondence to Beth A. Glenn.

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The study referenced in this manuscript was approved by the UCLA Institutional Review Board and the California Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Glenn, B.A., Chen, K.L., Chang, L.C. et al. Skin Examination Practices Among Melanoma Survivors and Their Children. J Canc Educ 32, 335–343 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13187-016-0998-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13187-016-0998-1

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Oncology
  • Skin examination
  • High risk
  • Melanoma survivor
  • Screening