Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Pictures May Help Encourage Skin Cancer Self-Exams

Study found images more motivating than text descriptions alone

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Pictures can make a strong impression: People who see images of skin cancer are more likely to do skin examinations, according to a new study.

An evidence review concluded that people who saw pictures of skin cancer were motivated to check their skin more often and accurately. Text descriptions of skin cancer alone were not effective in promoting skin self-examination.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

"Visual images capture our attention and are persuasive. They also help us to learn and remember," study co-author Laurie Hoffman-Goetz, a professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said in a university news release.

The findings could help improve early detection of skin cancer, including deadly melanoma.

"Skin self-examination plays an important role in detecting melanoma early. Many cases of melanoma are first detected by patients themselves," study co-author Jennifer McWhirter, a Ph.D. candidate, said in the news release.

"Incorporating images into clinical practice when educating patients can be a powerful tool in the fight against skin cancer," Hoffman-Goetz added.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in North America, the authors noted in the news release.

Today on WebMD

Malignant melanoma
About 40-50 percent of those who live to be 65 may get it. Here’s how to spot early.
Woman checking out tan lines
There’s a dark side to that strive for beauty. See them here.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
12 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Melanoma
precancerous lesions slideshow
Do You Know Your Melanoma ABCs
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
screening tests for men
Vitamin D
Is That Mole Skin Cancer
Brilliant sun rays