Psychosocial Issues in Familial Melanoma
There have been a few intervention studies targeting sun protection and screening in family members of melanoma patients. In one study among siblings, participants drawn from a clinic population were randomly assigned to an intervention that included telephone messages and tailored print materials about risk reduction and screening recommendations. The usual care condition received standard physician-practice recommendation that patients notify family members about their diagnosis. The intervention group showed improvements in knowledge about melanoma; confidence in seeing a dermatologist, and having a screening examination, and greater improvements in skin self-examination practices compared to control participants after 12 months; both groups showed twofold increases in physician examinations after 12 months; and there was no change in sunscreen behaviors in either group.
In another study, 443 family members of melanoma patients were randomly assigned to either a generic or tailored intervention that consisted of three (untailored or tailored) print mailings and one (untailored or tailored) telephone counseling session. Overall, the tailored intervention showed an almost twofold increase in frequency of total cutaneous skin examinations by a health care provider compared to the generic intervention. However, no differences were observed for skin self-examinations between intervention arms. In contrast to the previous study, which did not show improvements in sun protection habits, participants in this study who received the tailored intervention were significantly more likely to report improvements in sun protection habits compared to those who received the generic intervention.
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