Workplace education can help lower melanoma mortality, researchers say

May 06, 2008, 4:00am

San Rafael, Calif. - New research shows that workplace educational campaigns promoting self-examination and targeted screening for melanoma may significantly reduce melanoma mortality, HealthDay News reports.

San Rafael, Calif. - New research shows that workplace educational campaigns promoting self-examination and targeted screening for melanoma may significantly reduce melanoma mortality, HealthDay News reports.

Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center here studied the thickness and crude incidence of melanomas detected among employees at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory during three phases of increasing melanoma surveillance: pre-awareness (1969-1975), early awareness of increased melanoma risk (1976-1984) and screening program (1984-1996).

Their findings show that during the three periods, the crude incidence of melanomas thicker than 0.75 millimeters progressively decreased from 22.1 to 15.13 to 4.62 cases per 100,000 person-years.

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

“The mortality reduction we observed probably resulted from a preventive strategy consisting of three components - hands-on examination of about half the employees being screened; long-term screening of a small, moderate-risk population; and sensitizing nearly all employees and their spouses and caregivers to the menace of melanoma and to the importance of noting suggestive lesions and counting moles,” the authors write. “Our result emphasizes the usefulness of education at all levels in any future screening program.”

The study’s authors conclude that more broad-based, controlled studies are needed to confirm their findings.