The duty to inspect the skin and counsel those at risk to develop melanoma

June K. Robinson, Kimberly A. Mallett, Alan C. Geller, Timothy M. Johnson, Donald R. Miller, Katie R. Brooks, Christle J. Layton, Susan M. Swetter

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine factors associated with physician discovery of early melanoma in middle-aged and older men. Design: Survey. Setting: Three institutional melanoma clinics. Participants: A total of 227 male participants (aged ≥40 years) with invasive melanoma who completed surveys within 3 months of diagnosis. Intervention: Survey. Main Outcome Measures: Factors associated with physician-detected thin melanoma. Results: Patients with physician-detected melanoma were older, 57% were 65 years or older compared with 34% for other-detected (odds ratio [OR], 2.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.19-5.55) and 42% for patient-detected melanoma (P=.07). Physician-detected melanoma in the oldest patients (aged ≥65 years) had tumor thickness equal to that of self-detected melanoma or melanoma detected by other means in younger patients. Back lesions composed 46% of all physician-detected melanoma, 57% of those detected by other means, and 16% of self-detected lesions (physicianvs self-detected: OR, 4.25; 95% CI, 1.96-9.23). Ninety-two percent of all physician-detected back-of-the-body melanomas were smaller than 2 mm compared with 63% of self-detected lesions (P=.004) and 76% of lesions detected by other means (P=.07). Conclusions: Skin screenings of at-risk middle-aged and older American men can be integrated into the routine physical examination, with particular emphasis on hard-to-see areas, such as the back of the body. "Watch your back" professional education campaigns should be promoted by skin cancer advocacy organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1702-1704
Number of pages3
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 22 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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