Washington | Teaching the partners of skin cancer patients to identify new melanomas may lead to early detection of the disease that can otherwise be fatal, a new study has found. Patients with melanoma are at increased risk of developing a second primary melanoma.
These patients and their partners can help to manage early detection of new or recurrent melanoma with skin self-examination (SSE), researchers said. June K Robinson from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the US and colleagues conducted a randomised clinical trial with 24 months of follow-up with patients with stage 0 to stage two melanoma and their skin-check partners.
The study enrolled 494 participants who were assigned to either usual care (99 participants) or to the skill-based intervention for SSE, which was delivered either in-person in the office (165), in a workbook (159) or on a tablet (71). Skills to recognise change in the border, colour and diametre of moles were reinforced in four-month intervals during skin examinations by a dermatologist.
Of the 494 patients, 66 developed new melanomas. Patient-partner pairs in intervention (395) identified 43 melanomas. In comparison, none of the patient-partner pairs in the comparison control group identified melanoma, researchers said.
The results show that skin-check partners of patients with melanoma can effectively perform skin self-examinations and identify new melanomas to increase early detection of the cancer that can be fatal.
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