Skin care behaviors among melanoma survivors

School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA. .
Psycho-Oncology (Impact Factor: 2.44). 12/2012; 21(12). DOI: 10.1002/pon.2017
Source: PubMed


Clinical recommendations for survivors of melanoma generally include skin care behaviors, including regular physician and skin self-examination to identify any recurrences or second primary disease early, as well as sun protection. We measured skin care behaviors in a population-based sample of melanoma survivors.
Melanoma survivors were approached through the regional National Cancer Institute-funded cancer registry (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) and recruited to this study with a response rate of approximately 75%, for a total sample of n = 313.
The sample was 99% Caucasian, 56% female, 44% male, 81% married, 62% college educated, and 48% with an income over 70 K annually, with an average age of 56 years. Over the last 7 days, a total of 45% reported wearing sunscreen, 59% reported wearing long sleeves, 80% reported wearing pants, 35% reported wearing something on the head, and 36% stayed in available shade. Skin self-examination behaviors were reported at relatively low frequencies, with only 22% performing a thorough check on skin. A total of 88% of survivors reported that their physician checked their skin in the past few years by having all clothes removed. A multivariate analysis using logistic regression indicated that perceived risk was positively related to having the skin checked by a medical provider but no other skin protection behaviors. Gender effects were also detected for wearing sunscreen and wearing a hat or scarf.
Data indicate that melanoma survivors are performing sun protection behaviors to a moderate extent. Future studies can address barriers to consistent use of these behaviors in melanoma survivors.

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    • "According to an Australian study, although a higher proportion of skin cancer survivors perform SSE than the general population, only less than half of melanoma survivors (42%) and non-melanoma skin cancer patients (46%) performed SSE within the past year.50 Of the melanoma survivors who do perform SSEs, only 13.7%–22% of these individuals reported performing thorough SSEs.34,39,44 This means that over 75% of people in this high-risk group could be missing potential malignancies if SSEs were the only form of secondary prevention, highlighting the importance of two things: 1) the need for increased education on how to conduct proper and thorough SSEs, as only half of melanoma survivors reported having received education on how to do a SSE;44 and 2) the establishment that skin cancer survivors are to receive regular TBSEs performed by physicians. "
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