Wondering if that mole is cancerous? Look at illustrations, not photosSeptember 13, 2017
After a summer of cumulative sunburn, you find yourself extra paranoid about the newfound mole on your shoulder. So you Google "signs of skin cancer" and spend an hour wading through mortality stats and one disturbing image after the next -- more overwhelmed than when you started.
Nearly 75 percent of melanomas are initially detected by patients or other laypeople, so promoting effective skin self-examination (SSE) is a top priority for dermatologists and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Problem is, studies show current SSE training materials -- whether in brochure or online form -- are often ineffective.
"Dermatology is a highly visual field, so we need to look more closely at our visual training," said Brigham Young University communications professor Kevin John, who used eye-tracking technology to show that illustrations are actually more effective than photos in helping people spot problematic moles.
For this study, recently published in the Journal of Health Communication, John and colleagues at the University of Utah showed participants SSE brochures, some with illustrated visuals and some with photographic. As with his prior eye-tracking studies, which he has been doing for more than a decade, he focused on people's fixation points -- the spots where "their eyes have stopped long enough for their brain to figure out what they're looking at."
The two primary SSE methods both offer visual or illustrated examples of moles and have patients look out for specific mole characteristics. The ABCDE method teaches people to look at asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving features of their mole to get a sense of whether it might be cancerous. More straightforward is UDS, or ugly duckling sign. "That basically says look at all of the moles on your body and if you see one that looks different from the others, get it checked out," John said.
Regardless of the method, John and his co-authors found that photographs helped participants become more confident in telling whether a normal mole is normal. On the flip side, illustrations led participants to fixate on atypical moles longer than photographs did.
The takeaway? "If you are trying to make somebody more effective at determining that a mole is atypical, which means potentially cancerous, then you use illustrations," John said. "And if the average person is equipped with basic criteria to tell whether a mole is suspicious or not, hopefully that will get them to a doctor," said John. That, in turn, can save lives.
The risk of developing melanoma in the United States is one in 55, up from one in 120 three decades ago -- and Utah consistently ranks No. 1 in the nation for new melanoma cases. The disease kills more than 50,000 people worldwide annually. And though early detection dramatically improves prognoses, it can be hard to come by for two reasons: first, said John, people aren't always cognizant of their skin, and second, not everyone has access to or makes time to go see a dermatologist.
As such, John hopes these findings will be used to develop more effective SSE training guidelines. "It can inform pamphlets that are in doctors' offices, it can inform advertisements that are looking at skin cancer -- it can be used to inform any kind of messaging related to skin cancer moving forward."
Brigham Young University
Related Skin Cancer Articles:
New diagnoses for two types of skin cancer increased in recent years, according to a Mayo Clinic-led team of researchers.
A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins concludes that a substantial number of people with a history of the most frequent kind of nonmelanoma skin cancers still get sunburned at the same rate as those without previous history, probably because they are not using sun-protective methods the right way or in the right amounts.
Skin cancer screenings performed by primary care physicians (PCPs) during routine office visits improve the detection of potentially deadly melanomas and find them in earlier stages, according to new research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
A new USC-led study identified a 'sunscreen' gene that may help stave off skin cancer.
An international team of scientists including researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia) studied what mutations are responsible for formation of the most common skin cancer type.
Our skin is covered in millions of bacteria and most of them help keep us healthy.
Research shows that stable parent-child bonds are fundamental to healthy child development.
Normal skin contains an unexpectedly high number of cancer-associated mutations, according to a study published in Science.
Research during the past 30 years has found many benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns immediately after birth, particularly with aiding breastfeeding.
Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer type in the US, and it's also the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Related Skin Cancer Reading:
Cancer of the Skin: Expert Consult - Online and Print, 2e
by Eggert Stockfleth MD PhD (Author), Darrell S. Rigel MD (Editor), June K. Robinson MD (Editor), Merrick I. Ross MD (Editor), Robert Friedman MD MSc (Med) (Editor), Clay J Cockerell (Editor), Henry Lim MD (Editor), John M Kirkwood MD (Editor)
Cancer of the Skin, edited by Drs. Rigel, Robinson, Ross, Friedman, Cockerell, Lim, Stockfleth, and Kirkwood, is your complete, multimedia guide to early diagnosis and effective medical and surgical treatment of melanoma and other skin cancers. Thoroughly updated with 11 new chapters, this broad-based, comprehensive reference provides you with the latest information on clinical genetics and genomics of skin cancer, targeted therapy for melanoma, the Vitamin D debate concerning the risks and benefits of sun exposure, and other timely topics. A new, multi-disciplinary team of... View Details
Skin Cancer: Cause and Cure (A Concise Guide to Skin Cancer)
by New York State Department of Health (Author), National Program of Cancer Registries (Author), National Center for Health Statistics (Author), National Cancer Institute (Author), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Author)
Skin Cancer - Cause and Cure - A Concise Guide. THE COMPLETE CONCISE GUIDE TO SKIN CANCER. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. They usually form on the head, face, neck, hands, and arms. Another type of skin cancer, melanoma, is more dangerous but less common. Anyone can get skin cancer, but it is more common in people who spend a lot of time in the sun or have been sunburned, have light-colored skin, hair and eyes, have a family member with skin cancer, are over age 50. You should have... View Details
The Eggplant Cancer Cure: A Treatment for Skin Cancer and New Hope for Other Cancers from Nature's Pharmacy
by Bill E. Cham (Author)
Perfection or near-perfection is rare in any area of medicine. Dr. Bill Cham has achieved it in the treatment of two common cancers, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Dr. Cham's treatment also eliminates actinic keratosis, a usually benign (but potentially malignant) skin condition of middle ages and older. What's near-perfection? A treatment that: ―Works nearly every time ―Has no adverse side effects ―Is inexpensive compared with other treatments View Details
by Keyvan Nouri (Author)
The ultimate all-in-one guide to diagnosing and treating skin cancer
A Doody's Core Title ESSENTIAL PURCHASE!
4 STAR DOODY'S REVIEW!
"This excellent comprehensive book covers all types of skin cancer, their clinical presentation, the genetic alterations leading to particular tumors, and treatment. The clinical color photographs for the most part are of fine quality. The histology is shown side by side with the clinical findings. Shaded summary boxes highlight the salient points for those who wish a quick read through the book....Everyone will enjoy... View Details
Curaderm-bec5 Natural Non-Invasive Medication for Skin Cancer
by Dr. Bill Cham (Author)
Brand New Kit includes micropore tape, cream and Paperback Binding Book titled: "Curaderm-bec5 Natural Non-Invasive Medication for Skin Cancer. Biopsy and 5 Year Cancer-Free Criteria". The book explains how Curaderm is a product that has shown to be very effective in trating lesions of the skin such as Actinic Keratosis (AK), Keratoacanthoma (KA) and the nonmelanoma skin cancers Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). Important: =========================== No Return accepted for this Product. View Details
Pretty Sick: The Beauty Guide for Women with Cancer
by Caitlin M. Kiernan (Author), Jamie Lee Reardin (Illustrator)
The ultimate resource to looking your best during and after cancer treatment from a veteran beauty industry insider
When beauty editor Caitlin Kiernan received the shattering diagnosis of cancer, she was obviously concerned about her health. But as a working professional, she knew she had to learn, quickly, how to look her best while feeling her worst. Caitlin called on her list of extensive contacts--from top medical doctors to hair stylists, makeup artists, and style mavens--to gather the best and most useful tips to offset the unpleasant effects of... View Details
Non-Invasive Technologies for the Diagnosis and Management of Skin Cancer, An Issue of Dermatologic Clinics, 1e (The Clinics: Dermatology)
by Darrell S. Rigel MD (Author), Aaron S. Farberg MD (Author)
This issue of Dermatologic Clinics, guest edited by Drs. Darrell S. Rigel and Aaron S. Farberg, is devoted to Non-Invasive Technologies for the Diagnosis of Skin Cancer. Articles in this issue include: Current state and issues of clinical inspection; Tele-dermatology applications in skin cancer diagnosis; Enhancing skin cancer diagnosis with dermoscopy; Mole Mapping for management of pigmented skin lesions; Temporal image comparison (Serial Imaging) in assessing pigmented lesions; Multispectral digital skin lesion imaging and analysis; Using reflectance confocal microscopy in skin cancer... View Details
The Skin Cancer Answer: The Natural Treatment for Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinomas and Keratoses
by I. William Lane (Author), Linda Comac (Author)
From the authors of Sharks Still Don't Get Cancer comes a practical and innovative guide that presents an unprecedented approach to skin cancer treatment, offering an in-depth study of the history, use, and effectiveness of a meticulously tested vegetable material. Reprint. IP. View Details
Actinic Keratosis. Replace the Fear and Uncertainty with Knowledge: How to Prevent Recurrence and Lower Your Skin Cancer Risk.
by Anthony Newton (Author)
Actinic Keratosis affects millions of people worldwide; over 58 million Americans were diagnosed with this pre-cancerous affliction last year alone and numbers are rising. A new book by Anthony Newton explains actinic keratosis and helps those who have it prevent further attacks and significantly lower their skin cancer risk. Written in easy to understand language Mr Newton, a medical writer, answers questions such as what is actinic keratosis (which is also known as solar keratosis or senile keratosis), as well as discussing all available actinic keratosis treatments and what action can be... View Details
Melanoma- Not Just Skin Cancer
by Catherine M. Poole (Author)
All cancer diagnoses are terrifying, but a melanoma diagnosis is both frightening and confusing. When Catherine M. Poole learned she had melanoma twenty-five years ago, she found that most of the literature on melanoma focused on prevention. To add to her understandable alarm, she couldn’t find clear, concise information on treatment options. Poole wanted to be an informed patient, but she had no resources.
She survived melanoma and has become a dedicated activist for melanoma research and a staunch patient advocate. Her new book, Melanoma: Not Just Skin Cancer, is a... View Details