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Prev Med. 2004 Jul;39(1):11-8.

Attitudes and intentions in relation to skin checks for early signs of skin cancer.

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Epidemiology Unit, Queensland Cancer Fund, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



Screening for melanoma by whole-body clinical skin examination or skin self-examination may improve early diagnosis of melanoma. As part of the first phase of a community-based randomised controlled trial of screening for melanoma, this study examined the prevalence of skin screening intentions and associated factors in a population at high risk for skin cancer.


A telephone survey stratified by gender reached 3,110 participants > or = 30 years representative for the population.


Overall, 45% intended to have a clinical skin check, and 72% intended to examine their own skin within the next 12 months. In multivariate analysis, a history of a clinical skin examination was most strongly related to intention to screen. Concern about skin cancer or a personal history of skin cancer and high susceptibility towards skin cancer were further important determinants of screening intention. Men were less likely than women to intend participation.


Given that skin screening is not recommended by health authorities in absence of scientific evidence of benefit, the intention to participate in screening for melanoma in this Australian sample was high. Except for the lower intention among men, screening intention appears to be highest in those at highest risk of melanoma.

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