Tech Tutorial Ups Detection of Skin Cancer
Compared with people who only received printed brochures about self-exams for melanoma, study participants who got a digital tutorial as well as text messages and email reminders were more faithful about doing the exams and better at detecting the disease after a three-month trial. Lead author Savina Aneja MD of Case Western Reserve University and colleagues published their findings in the journal Archives of Dermatology. The intervention group participated in a computer-assisted learning tutorial, took part in a hands-on skin self-exam tutorial, received monthly telecommunication reminders to perform the self-exams, and were given a brochure on melanoma detection. At the three-month follow-up, they were not only more likely than those in the control group to actually do the exams, but they also felt confident "in the ability to identify melanoma."
"Computer-assisted patient education used in conjunction with a hands-on SSE tutorial and telecommunication reminders can increase patient performance of SSEs and confidence," the authors wrote. "Future research could be aimed at determining the efficacy of other combinations of multimodal interventions that can modify patient behavior.
Dermatologists may use these findings to implement multiple modalities for teaching and reminding patients to perform [skin self-exams] to increase patient autonomy and ultimately reduce the morbidity and mortality of [melanoma]."
In the meantime, why not let this be a reminder to ask your own physician or dermatologist to teach you how to do a thorough skin self-exam?