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Effectiveness of interventions to support the early detection of skin cancer through skin self-examination: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Ersser, S. J., Effah, A., Dyson, J., Kellar, I., Thomas, S., McNichol, E., Caperon, E., Hewitt, C. and Muinonen-Martin, A.J., 2019. Effectiveness of interventions to support the early detection of skin cancer through skin self-examination: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Dermatology, 180 (6), 1339 - 1347.

Full text available as:

Final accepted tidy copy BJD paper final 29.11.18 SJErsser.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1111/bjd.17529


BACKGROUND: As skin cancer incidence rises, there is a need to evaluate early detection interventions by the public using skin self-examination (SSE); however, the literature focuses on primary prevention. No systematic reviews have evaluated the effectiveness of such SSE interventions. OBJECTIVES: To systematically examine, map, appraise and synthesize, qualitatively and quantitatively, studies evaluating the early detection of skin cancer, using SSE interventions. METHODS: This is a systematic review (narrative synthesis and meta-analysis) examining randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasiexperimental, observational and qualitative studies, published in English, using PRISMA and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance. The MEDLINE, Embase and PsycINFO databases were searched through to April 2015 (updated in April 2018 using MEDLINE). Risk-of-bias assessment was conducted. RESULTS: Included studies (n = 18), totalling 6836 participants, were derived from 22 papers; these included 12 RCTs and five quasiexperiments and one complex-intervention development. More studies (n = 10) focused on targeting high-risk groups (surveillance) than those at no higher risk (screening) (n = 8). Ten (45%) study interventions were theoretically underpinned. All of the study outcomes were self-reported, behaviour related and nonclinical in nature. Meta-analysis demonstrated the impact of the intervention on the degree of SSE activity from five studies, especially in the short term (up to 4 months) (odds ratio 2·31, 95% confidence interval 1·90-2·82), but with small effect sizes. Risk-of-bias assessment indicated that 61% of the studies (n = 11) were of weak quality. CONCLUSIONS: Four RCTs and a quasiexperimental study indicate that some interventions can enhance SSE activity and so are more likely to aid early detection of skin cancer. However, the actual clinical impact remains unclear, and this is based on overall weak study (evidence) quality.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:early detection of cancer; humans; observational studies as topic; randomized controlled trials as topic; self efficacy; self-examination; skin neoplasms
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:34435
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:17 Aug 2020 11:29
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:23


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