Genetics of Skin Cancer (PDQ®): Genetics - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Psychosocial Issues in Familial Melanoma
A cross-sectional Australian study of 120 individuals from families with a known CDKN2A mutation found that in the past 12 months, 50% reported engaging in skin self-examinations at least four times, and 43% had undergone at least one clinical skin examination. In contrast, 15% had not performed a skin self-examination in the past 12 months, and 27% had never had a clinical skin examination. Correlates of skin cancer screening behaviors included having a prior history of melanoma, a physician's recommendation, and stronger behavioral intentions. Additional correlates for skin self-examination included self-efficacy, perceived efficacy of melanoma treatment, and melanoma-specific distress. Perceived risk of developing melanoma was not significantly associated with skin cancer screening behaviors.
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 with control participants after 12 months; both groups showed twofold increases in physician examinations after 12 months; 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 than were those who received the generic intervention.
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