Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Cancer. 2006 May 1;118(9):2276-80.

Superiority of a cognitive education with photographs over ABCD criteria in the education of the general population to the early detection of melanoma: a randomized study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Dermatology Hôpital Ste Marguerite, Assistance Publique des hôpitaux de Marseille andResearch unit LIMP EA 3291 Université de la méditerranée, Marseille, France.


Most education campaigns for melanoma (MM) detection in the general population have used the "ABCD" algorithm, although recognition of objects in the real life is based on a holistic image recognition rather than on analytic criteria. The objective was to compare analytic (ABCD) and cognitive (photographs) strategies for teaching self-recognition of MM. A prospective 4-arm stratified randomized trial in 255 individuals compared 3 realistic educative interventions by leaflets: 1) ABCD algorithm ("ABCD"), 2) a set of photographs chosen to stimulate recognition of MM among benign pigmented lesions ("Cog"), 3) photographs + explanations ("Cog-Ex" arm) and 4) no intervention ("NI"). A 40-slides test was performed before intervention (T0), 1 week after (T1) and after induction of anxiety (T2). In the "ABCD" arm, sensitivity slightly improved (80 to 83.8%, p = 0.04), but specificity dropped from 65.1 to 56.3% (p < 0.001), with no benefit in accuracy as compared to "NI". In "Cog" arm, there was no change in sensitivity, but a strong increase in specificity (65.9 to 81.1%, p < 0.001) and accuracy (42.1 to 53.1%, p < 0.001). "Cog-ex" resulted in similar although lower benefit. Under stress (T2), there was a dramatic loss of specificity and accuracy in "ABCD" arm (65.1 to 44.1%, p < 0.001 and 40.8% to 35.8%, p < or = 0.001) without higher gain in sensitivity, while sensitivity and accuracy increased (p < 0.005) after "Cog" leaflet, without decreasing specificity. Finally, the "ABCD" message alone does not seem efficacious and is even worse in the context of anxiety, whereas a quick look at a few photographs is sufficient to improve the ability of the laymen to recognize a MM just by optimizing their spontaneous image recognition capacities. Education by photographs is a realistic strategy which should replace or complete "ABCD" message in the campaigns for self-detection of MM.

2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk