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Melanoma Education Protects Patients' Siblings

Posted: July 12, 2006

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However, the education effort did not impact on either the routine use of sunscreens or wearing sun-protective clothing.

As well, no difference between the groups was found for seeking a dermatologist-conducted screening, although the frequency of such screenings doubled among all the siblings by 12 months.

The news is still good, however, because self-exams are the most basic form of spotting melanoma.

"I'm pleased with the results," said Geller, "because I think skin self-examination is a really important technique that should be learnt. And the beauty of this whole thing is that melanoma is the only visible tumor. So every family member can play really strong role in this -- helping if the subject can't look at his or her back. So this is basically a family education program."

Marianne Berwick, head of the Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Program at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, said the study has the potential to help health professionals promote early detection and lower the melanoma death rate.