Impact of a video-based intervention to improve the prevalence of skin self-examination in men 50 years or older: the randomized skin awareness trial

Arch Dermatol. 2011 Jul;147(7):799-806. doi: 10.1001/archdermatol.2011.48. Epub 2011 Mar 21.


Objective: To improve the proportion of men 50 years or older who conduct a thorough whole-body skin self-examination (SSE), because these men are at increased risk of being diagnosed as having thick melanomas and dying of melanoma.

Design: Randomized trial of a video-based intervention to increase whole-body SSE compared with brochures-only control.

Setting: Men from an Australian population register.

Participants: The study included 930 men 50 years or older.

Intervention: The men were randomly assigned to receive either written materials only (control) or written materials along with a DVD or video and 2 postcard reminders (intervention). Telephone interviews were conducted at baseline and at 7 and 13 months.

Main outcome measure: The proportion of men who conducted a whole-body SSE with the help of 2 mirrors and/or a person to assist with difficult-to-see areas.

Results: Compared with baseline (10%), by 13 months both groups had increased their whole-body SSE behaviors similarly (36% intervention and 31% control) (P = .85). At 7 months, the intervention group was significantly more likely to examine at least 1 part of their back (P < .001) and to examine a greater number of body sites (P < .001). At 7 months, the proportion of men conducting any SSE increased by 28% in the intervention group compared with 13% in the control group (P < .001), but at 13 months, the prevalence of any self-examination (83% vs 80%) was again similar.

Conclusion: While men 50 years or older are responsive to appropriately targeted intervention materials to increase their SSE behaviors, the addition of a video or DVD to written materials had only a transient advantage for optimal SSE practices.

Trial registration: Identifier: 12608000384358.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / mortality
  • Middle Aged
  • Pamphlets
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Self-Examination / methods*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality
  • Videodisc Recording*