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


Background: Skin self-examination (SSE) may facilitate early diagnosis of melanoma at a potentially curablestage. Little data are available concerning the SSE frequency and knowledge about the symptoms of melanomain 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 inPoland. 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 on4,919 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 andsensitive skin phototype, higher level of knowledge concerning melanoma, safe tanning rules and, especially, pastsurgical excision of naevi. Declared longer use of tanning beds was linked to understanding better the importanceof clinical features of melanoma. Awareness of hazardous behavior during sunbathing is associated with theattempts to change them.
Conclusions: Regular SSE is not a common practice, whilst the knowledge about theclinical features of melanoma is varied. Therefore, constant pressure should be put on promotion of regular skinself-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.