Using Skin Self-Examination Training to Detect Melanoma Early

A very powerful and important study about the benefits of learning how to self-examine for skin cancer, from the Department of Dermatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago.

The authors did a randomised trial to test whether SSE (structured skin examination) in patients with previous melanoma increased the number of second melanomas found. Patients with their ‘skin check partner’ were allocated to a short structured training on SSE or normal care (simple advice and usual dermatology visits).


Almost 500 patients took part and those in the intervention arm reported many more SSE and importantly more melanomas were detected in these patients. In the control arm, no melanomas were found by patients or partners! All in situ melanomas found by patients were among intervention patients. And – in the intervention arm – patients found many more melanomas than did their physicians.

I think this is a remarkable study, and is translatable into Australian general practice. Skin cancer clinics and practices with an interest in skin cancer could train patients to do SSE, reinforced by the doctor at review, and could us the training reported in the paper.

Quite an opportunity!

Click here to download the full paper 

Doctors: June K. Robinson, MD | Jeffrey D.Wayne, MD | Mary C. Martini, MD | Brittney A. Hultgren, MS | Kimberly A. Mallett, PhD | Rob Turrisi, PhD

Learn more about skin cancer medicine in primary care at the next Skin Cancer Certificate Courses:

Skin Cancer Certificate Courses in Australia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *