Funding sources This project was accomplished with support from the National Cancer Institute, RO1 CA66032.
EPIDEMIOLOGY AND HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH
Recent skin self-examination and doctor visits in relation to melanoma risk and tumour depth
Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Authors. BJD © 2012 British Association of Dermatologists
British Journal of Dermatology
Volume 168, Issue 3, pages 571–576, March 2013
How to Cite
Titus, L.J., Clough-Gorr, K., Mackenzie, T.A., Perry, A., Spencer, S.K., Weiss, J., Abrahams-Gessel, S. and Ernstoff, M.S. (2013), Recent skin self-examination and doctor visits in relation to melanoma risk and tumour depth. British Journal of Dermatology, 168: 571–576. doi: 10.1111/bjd.12003
Conflicts of interest None declared.
- Issue published online: 28 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 16 AUG 2012 12:00PM EST
- Accepted for publication 9 August 2012
Background Little is known about the potential benefit of skin self-examination for melanoma prevention and early detection.
Objectives To determine whether skin self-examination is associated with reduced melanoma risk, self-detection of tumours, and reduced risk of deeper melanomas.
Methods We used data from a population-based case–control study (423 cases, 678 controls) to assess recent skin self-examination in relation to self-detection, melanoma risk and tumour depth ( ≤1 mm; > 1 mm). Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and confidence intervals (CIs) for associations of interest.
Results Skin self-examination conducted 1–11 times during a recent year was associated with a possible decrease in melanoma risk (OR 0·74; 95% CI 0·54–1·02). Melanoma risk was decreased for those who conducted skin self-examination and saw a doctor (OR 0·52; 95% CI 0·30–0·90). Among cases, those who examined their skin were twice as likely to self-detect the melanoma (OR 2·23; 95% CI 1·47–3·38), but self-detection was not associated with shallower tumours. Tumour depth was reduced for those who conducted skin self-examination 1–11 times during a recent year (OR 0·39; 95% CI 0·18–0·81), but was not influenced by seeing a doctor, or by conducting skin self-examination and seeing a doctor.
Conclusions Risk of a deeper tumour and possibly risk of melanoma were reduced by skin self-examination 1–11 times annually. Melanoma risk was markedly reduced by skin self-examination coupled with a doctor visit. We cannot, however, exclude the possibility that our findings reflect bias or confounding. Additional studies are needed to elucidate the potential benefits of skin self-examination for melanoma prevention and early detection.