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Psychooncology. 2017 Dec;26(12):2142-2148. doi: 10.1002/pon.4315. Epub 2016 Dec 6.

Communication about melanoma and risk reduction after melanoma diagnosis.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.
2
Department of Internal Medicine and Dermatology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Melanoma patients are advised to perform regular risk-reduction practices, including sun protection as well as skin self-examinations (SSEs) and physician-led examinations. Melanoma-specific communication regarding family risk and screening may promote such behaviors. To this end, associations between patients' melanoma-specific communication and risk reduction were examined.

METHODS:

Melanoma patients (N = 169) drawn from a population-based cancer registry reported their current risk-reduction practices, perceived risk of future melanoma, and communication with physicians and relatives about melanoma risk and screening.

RESULTS:

Patients were, on average, 56 years old and 6.7 years' post diagnosis; 51% were male, 93% reported "fair/very fair" skin color, 75% completed at least some college, and 22% reported a family history of melanoma. Patients reported varying levels of regular (always/nearly always) sun protection: sunscreen use (79%), shade seeking (60%), hat use (54%), and long-sleeve shirt use (30%). Only 28% performed thorough SSE regularly, whereas 92% reported undergoing physician-led skin examinations within the past year. Participants who were female, younger, and had a higher perceived risk of future melanoma were more likely to report past communication. In adjusted analyses, communication remained uniquely associated with increased sunscreen use and SSE.

CONCLUSIONS:

Encouraging melanoma patients to have a more active role in discussions concerning melanoma risk and screening with relatives and physicians alike may be a useful strategy to promote 2 key risk-reduction practices post melanoma diagnosis and treatment. Future research is needed to identify additional strategies to improve comprehensive risk reduction in long-term melanoma patients.

KEYWORDS:

cancer; communication; melanoma; oncology; risk reduction; survivorship

PMID:
27862570
PMCID:
PMC5524614
[Available on 2018-12-01]
DOI:
10.1002/pon.4315
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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