Melanoma Patients and Their Partners Can Reliably Perform Skin Checks for Melanoma. Interview with:

June K. Robinson, MD Research Professor of Dermatology Northwestern Univ Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. June Robinson

June K. Robinson, MD
Research Professor of Dermatology
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: More than 1 million patients with a history of melanoma live in the US. They are at risk to develop a second melanoma. The risk is elevated for up to 20 years and is 10 times greater than the risk of a first melanoma in the general population.

This is the first randomized clinical trial to examine partner- assisted skin self-examination (SSE) . A 30 minute structured training intervention was provided to the melanoma patients and their partners with reinforcement every 4 months .

The 494 pairs in the intervention performed significantly more skin self-examination  than those in the control group at 4,12 and 24 months after the education and skills training. The pairs were accurate in finding early melanoma and did not have unnecessary visits to the dermatologists. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Melanoma patients and their skin check partners can reliably perform skin checks for melanoma.

The skin check partner helped the patient to identify, track and detect changes in moles and make a decision about whether to see the dermatologist. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: All training performed in this research was done in the office. We will now examine the ability to train melanoma patients and their partners with remote education. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Melanoma patients often get the impression that they are cured after five years and cease having visits with the doctor. Even if they chose to cease seeing the doctor for skin exams, they should self-manage early detection of new melanoma by SSE. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Early Detection of New Melanomas by Patients With Melanoma and Their Partners Using a Structured Skin Self-examination Skills Training Intervention
June K. Robinson MD, Jeffrey D. Wayne MD, Mary C. Martini MD, Brittney A. Hultgren MS, Kimberly A. Mallett PhD, Rob Turrisi PhD

JAMA Dermatol. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.1985 Published online June 29, 2016.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.
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Last Updated on June 29, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD