Early detection of skin cancer by patients is an important strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality caused by melanoma. However, the effectiveness of interventions or educational aids that use visual images to promote skin self-examination (SSE) and early melanoma detection has not been systematically investigated.
We undertook a systematic review of peer-reviewed research on SSE for skin cancer to examine the outcomes of studies that used visual images as part of their methodology. Our objective was to describe the impact of visual images on patient SSE knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and accuracy.
Seven databases were searched resulting in 5330 citations. A total of 25 studies met the inclusion criteria.
Images positively affected knowledge and self-efficacy related to SSE. Images motivated the performance of SSE and increased the accuracy of SSE and melanoma detection. The types of visual images that were effective are described and the implications are discussed.
Articles not uncovered by the search strategy may have been unintentionally excluded. Lack of image description in the studies made specific recommendations challenging.
The use of visual images to promote accurate and frequent SSE is encouraged.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Key words : melanoma, photograph, skin cancer, skin self-examination, systematic review, visual health communication
Abbreviations used : ABCD, ABCDE, SSE
| Supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
| Conflicts of interest: None declared.
| Reprints not available from the authors.