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Prev Med. 2015 Feb;71:50-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.12.009. Epub 2014 Dec 16.

Can skin cancer prevention and early detection be improved via mobile phone text messaging? A randomised, attention control trial.

Author information

1
Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Council Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
2
Dermatology Research Centre, The University of Queensland, School of Medicine, Translational Research Institute, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
3
School of Public Health and Social Work, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
4
School of Public Health and Social Work, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Electronic address: m.janda@qut.edu.au.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the impact of a theory-based, SMS (text message)-delivered behavioural intervention (Healthy Text) targeting sun protection or skin self-examination behaviours compared to attention control.

METHOD:

Overall, 546 participants aged 18-42 years were randomised using a computer-generated number list to the skin self-examination (N=176), sun protection (N=187), or attention control (N=183) text messages group. Each group received 21 text messages about their assigned topic over 12 months (12 weekly messages for 3 months, then monthly messages for the next 9 months). Data were collected via telephone survey at baseline, 3, and 12 months across Queensland from January 2012 to August 2013.

RESULTS:

One year after baseline, the sun protection (mean change 0.12; P=0.030) and skin self-examination groups (mean change 0.12; P=0.035) had significantly greater improvement in their sun protection habits (SPH) index compared to the attention control group (reference mean change 0.02). The increase in the proportion of participants who reported any skin self-examination from baseline to 12 months was significantly greater in the skin self-examination intervention group (103/163; 63%; P<0.001) than the sun protection (83/173; 48%) or attention control (65/165; 36%) groups. There was no significant effect of the intervention for participants' self-reported whole-body skin self-examination, sun tanning, or sunburn behaviours.

CONCLUSION:

The Healthy Text intervention was effective in inducing significant improvements in sun protection and any type of skin self-examination behaviours.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

The Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials register (ACTRN12612000577819).

FUNDING:

Cancer Australia 1011999.

KEYWORDS:

Health promotion; Prevention; Skin cancer; Text messaging

PMID:
25524612
DOI:
10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.12.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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