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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2007 Sep;21(8):1074-81.

Factors associated with thorough skin self-examination for the early detection of melanoma.

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Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University, Providence, RI 02903, USA.



Regular thorough skin self-examination (TSSE) has potential for detecting melanoma early and reducing melanoma mortality.


We sought to model factors associated with skin self-examination (SSE) and test whether efficacy and attitudes about SSE mediated these relationships.


The Check-It-Out project is a randomized trial of an intervention to encourage TSSE; 2126 participants were recruited from the practices of primary care physicians. Correlates predicting baseline TSSE included demographic variables, skin cancer risk, physician advice to examine skin, and appropriate conditions for conducting SSE (availability of partner to assist with self-examination, availability of a wall mirror, and use of contact lenses/glasses).


Those who were given physician advice, had a wall mirror, and had a partner available were more likely to perform TSSE.


We identified the factors associated with concurrent TSSE practices. Further research is needed to determine if these same factors predict future behaviour. Our findings may not be applicable in geographical areas other than our recruitment area.


Primary care providers can recommend SSE and provide materials to increase ability to recognize skin problems. Providing instructions and aids for conducting TSSE may increase self-efficacy.

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