Video-based education increases skin cancer detection behaviors

March 1, 2014

Educational video how-tos may prompt older men to monitor their skin either through self-examinations or clinical skin exams, thereby increasing earlier skin cancer diagnoses, according to the results of two new studies.

Educational video how-tos may prompt older men to monitor their skin either through self-examinations or clinical skin exams, thereby increasing earlier skin cancer diagnoses, according to the results of two new studies.

In one study, Australian researchers enrolled 930 men 50 years or older who were randomly selected from the Australian electoral roll. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a 12-minute video-delivered intervention, in which they also received a body chart diagram, a brochure on taking time to spot skin cancers, and a guide on how to conduct a whole-body self-skin examination and two mailed reminder postcards. A control group received the guide to whole body self skin exams and the brochure only. Researchers conducted telephone interviews prior to randomization and again at seven and 13 months.

Results indicated that by 13 months, the numbers of men conducting self skin exams had increased (36 percent intervention and 31 percent control) (P=0.85) compared to 10 percent at baseline; however, the prevalence of self-examination was similar between groups (83 vs. 80 percent). This gap closed from seven months, where the researchers noted the proportion of men conducting self exams had incrased by 28 percent in the video intervention group compared with 13 percent in the control group.

In a second study, enrolled 870 men ages 50 and older to assess prevalence and clinical outcomes of clinical skin exams. The men were similarly randomized to receive video-based intervention or brochures only and were again interviewed after seven months.

The researchers noted that 62.1 percent of the men reported to have received a clinical self-exam since receiving the intervention materials. While the number reporting these exams was similar between groups, the men who received the video-based intervention were morel likely to report a whole-body clinical skin exam compared to those in the control group (35.3 vs. 27.2 percent) and a higher proportion of malignant lesions were diagnosed in the group receiving the video-based intervention.

“Given that both intervention materials had a large effect, our results have important public health significance,” authors of the first study wrote. “It has been reported that conducting any SSE (skin self-examination) and increasing the thoroughness of SSE will increase the likelihood of presenting to a physician with a melanoma less than 1 mm thick, and reduction in thickness has the potential to improve survival after a diagnosis of melanoma among men 50 years or older.”

The studies published in JAMA Dermatology.