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Awareness of Skin Self-Assessment as an Early Detection Tool for Skin Cancer

Shelestak, Deb; Lindow, Karol

Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association: March-April 2009 - Volume 1 - Issue 2 - p 119-123
doi: 10.1097/JDN.0b013e31819f0a4d
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ABSTRACT: The incidence of skin cancers is increasing at an alarming rate. If recognized and treated in early stages, skin cancer is nearly 100% curable. Precancerous lesions can be eliminated before becoming malignant. It is therefore extremely important to assess and screen for changes in the skin. Utilizing the health belief model as the conceptual framework, this study sought to determine the public's awareness of (a) the importance of skin self-assessment in the early detection of skin cancer, (b) the proper technique for self-assessment, and (c) factors associated with performance or nonperformance of self-assessment. A scripted interview was used with participants to determine their attitudes toward skin self-assessment with regard to susceptibility, seriousness, perceived benefit, perceived barriers, health motivation, and confidence related to skin self-assessment. The findings of this study indicated that a majority of the respondents believed that skin cancer is a serious condition but was not viewed as a concern unless it had personally affected them.

Deb Shelestak, RN, PhD and Karol Lindow, RN,C, MSN, CNS, Department of Nursing, Kent State University, Stark Campus.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Deb Shelestak, RN, PhD, 6000 Frank Avenue NW, North Canton, Ohio 44720-7548. E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.