Objective: Whole-body skin self-examination (SSE) with presentation of suspicious lesions to a physician may improve early detection of melanoma. The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence and determinants of SSE in a high-risk population in preparation for a community-based randomised controlled trial of screening for melanoma.
Methods: A telephone survey reached 3110 residents older than 30 years (overall response rate of 66.9%) randomly selected from 18 regional communities in Queensland, Australia.
Results: Overall, 804 (25.9%) participants reported whole-body SSE within the past 12 months and 1055 (33.9%) within the past three years. Whole-body SSE was associated in multivariate logistic regression analysis with younger age (< 50 years); higher education; having received either a whole-body skin examination, recommendation or instruction on SSE by a primary care physicial; giving skin checks a high priority; concern about skin cancer and a personal history of skin cancer.
Conclusion: Overall, the prevalence of SSE in the present study is among the highest yet observed in Australia, with about one-third of the adult population reporting whole-body SSE in the past three years. People over 50 years, who are at relatively higher risk for skin cancer, currently perform SSE less frequently than younger people.
Copyright 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers