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Open Access Research article

Skin surveillance intentions among family members of patients with melanoma

Elliot J Coups123*, Sharon L Manne12, Paul B Jacobsen4, Michael E Ming5, Carolyn J Heckman6 and Stuart R Lessin7

Author Affiliations

1 The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, 195 Little Albany Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

2 Department of Medicine, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 125 Paterson Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

3 Department of Health Education and Behavioral Science, UMDNJ-School of Public Health, 683 Hoes Lane West, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA

4 Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 Magnolia Drive, MRC-PSY, Tampa, FL 33612, USA

5 Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 2 Maloney Building, 3600 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

6 Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA

7 Department of Medicine, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:866  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-866

Published: 14 November 2011

Abstract

Background

First-degree relatives of individuals diagnosed with melanoma are at increased disease risk. However, many first-degree relatives do not receive a periodic total cutaneous examination from a health care provider or engage in regular skin self-examination. The goal of this study was to identify correlates of total cutaneous examination and skin self-examination intentions among first-degree relatives of melanoma patients, thus providing insight on factors that should be targeted in future intervention research.

Methods

The participants were 545 first-degree relatives of melanoma patients at increased disease risk due to their risk factor profile and lack of skin surveillance behaviors. Participants completed a telephone survey regarding their total cutaneous examination and skin self-examination intentions and potential correlates, including demographics, medical factors, psychological factors, knowledge, and social influence factors.

Results

Intentions to receive a total cutaneous examination were higher among first-degree relatives with more education, those perceiving higher benefits and lower barriers to an examination, and those reporting greater physician and family support. Intentions to receive a skin self-examination were higher among those with higher benefits and lower barriers to self-examination, and higher family support.

Conclusions

Interventions to promote skin surveillance behaviors among first-degree relatives of melanoma patients should highlight the benefits of early detection of melanoma, address barriers to receipt of total cutaneous examination and engagement in skin self-examination, and promote support from physicians and family members.