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Melanoma Education Protects Patients' Siblings

Posted: July 12, 2006

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The other half of the siblings received no intervention beyond what the researchers viewed as "standard procedure": the informing of the initial melanoma patient that his or her siblings and parents are themselves at higher risk for the disease and should seek screening.

Surveys were conducted at the start of the study and six and 12 months down the line, although not all the patients completed all the polls.

The researchers found that after six months, siblings exposed to the program had better improvements in their knowledge about melanoma. By 12 months, participants in the program had fewer practical or psychological obstacles (such as how to find and pay for a dermatologist, or disliking sunscreens) to keeping watch on their skin, seeing a doctor, or using sun protection.

Most important, the program participants were more likely to conduct a careful self-examination compared to non-participants.

By six months, 67 percent of the participants conducted thorough self-exams, including examining the back, as compared with 52 percent of non-participants.