What Do Web Users Know about Skin Self-Examination and Melanoma Symptoms?

  • Published : 2015.04.14


Background: Skin self-examination (SSE) may facilitate early diagnosis of melanoma at a potentially curable stage. Little data are available concerning the SSE frequency and knowledge about the symptoms of melanoma in non-patient populations. The aim of our study was to assess the performance of skin self-examination, recognition of potential melanoma symptoms as well as behavior related to sun exposure among web users in Poland. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among readers of a scientific portal. Invited respondents were asked to complete an online questionnaire. Finally, statistical analysis was conducted on 4,919 surveys towards potential clinical signs of melanoma and SSE performance. Results: Approximately 60% of respondents had ever performed SSE in their life. Only 18.4 % declared performance on a regular, monthly, basis. Factors promoting this activity were established to be bigger place of residence, higher education and sensitive skin phototype, higher level of knowledge concerning melanoma, safe tanning rules and, especially, past surgical excision of naevi. Declared longer use of tanning beds was linked to understanding better the importance of clinical features of melanoma. Awareness of hazardous behavior during sunbathing is associated with the attempts to change them. Conclusions: Regular SSE is not a common practice, whilst the knowledge about the clinical features of melanoma is varied. Therefore, constant pressure should be put on promotion of regular skin self-examination and teaching its proper techniques, including familiarity with the ABCD (asymmetry; border; color; diameter) rule and its extension of "EFG" (elevated, firm, progressive growth) criteria.


skin self-examination;melanoma awareness;symptoms, pink lesion;ABCD rule;EFG rule


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