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Pictures May Help Encourage Skin Cancer Self-Exams

Pictures May Help Encourage Skin Cancer Self-Exams

08/09/13

FRIDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Pictures can make a strong impression: People who see images of skin cancer are more likely to do skin examinations, according to a new study.

An evidence review concluded that people who saw pictures of skin cancer were motivated to check their skin more often and accurately. Text descriptions of skin cancer alone were not effective in promoting skin self-examination.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

"Visual images capture our attention and are persuasive. They also help us to learn and remember," study co-author Laurie Hoffman-Goetz, a professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said in a university news release.

The findings could help improve early detection of skin cancer, including deadly melanoma.

"Skin self-examination plays an important role in detecting melanoma early. Many cases of melanoma are first detected by patients themselves," study co-author Jennifer McWhirter, a Ph.D. candidate, said in the news release.

"Incorporating images into clinical practice when educating patients can be a powerful tool in the fight against skin cancer," Hoffman-Goetz added.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in North America, the authors noted in the news release.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about skin cancer.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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