Melanoma risk declines with self-exams plus doctor visit

August 24, 2012
Melanoma risk declines with self-exams plus doctor visit
Risk of deeper melanomas is reduced with self-examination of the skin one to 11 times a year, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

(HealthDay)—Risk of deeper melanomas is reduced with self-examination of the skin one to 11 times a year, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Linda J. Titus, Ph.D., from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues analyzed data from a population-based case-control study (423 cases and 678 controls) to assess recent skin self-examination in relation to self-detection, risk, and tumor depth.

The researchers found that skin self-examination conducted one to 11 times during a recent year was associated with a possible decrease in melanoma risk (odds ratio [OR], 0.74). For those who conducted skin self-examination and saw a doctor, the melanoma risk was significantly decreased (OR, 0.54). Among those patients with melanoma, those who examined their skin were twice as likely to self-detect the melanoma (OR, 2.23), but self-detection was not associated with shallower tumors. For those who conducted skin self-examination one to 11 times during a recent year, tumor depth was significantly reduced (OR, 0.39), but was not influenced by seeing a doctor or by conducting skin self-examination combined with seeing a doctor.

"Risk of a deeper and possibly risk of melanoma were reduced by self-examination one to 11 times annually," the authors write.

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