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Pair Up-Prevent Melanoma

It is a study that affirms the role of partners or couples in health care, according to the authors.

Publishing results in the January issue of Archives of Dermatology, researchers came to the conclusion that couples //who train together for skin examination sessions are bound to take the sessions more seriously and do the examination more often. This naturally translates to reduced risks of developing the dreaded melanoma or skin cancer.

Persons who perform skin self-examination present for care at an earlier stage in the disease process and have 50 percent less advanced melanoma and markedly lower mortality from melanoma according to researchers.

June K. Robinson of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and colleagues performed a trial of a skin self-examination instruction program with 130 participants who had previously had melanoma. Sixty-five of the participants were randomly assigned to undergo the instruction alone and the other 65 to receive the instruction with their live-in partners.

All of the participants took a skills quiz and a written assessment of skin self-examination performance immediately after the session and again four months later.

'At the four-month follow-up visits, paired-learning individuals (treatment) showed significantly stronger intentions to perform skin self-examinations on the face and skin in general than the solo-learning individuals (controls),' the authors write.

'Significantly more solo learners than dyadic [paired] learners did not check their skin at the long-term follow-up visit (45 vs. 23), whereas significantly more dyadic learners checked their skin one time (19 vs. 9) and several times (13 vs. 4).'

According to the authors, attitude and belief in the ability to perform skin self-examination are fostered when the partners learn about melanoma recognition and skills training together. Partners may provide social reinforcement for skin self-examination and in checking locations that are difficult for the patient to see, for example the scalp, back, ears and back of legs.

So for those who want to keep melanoma at bay, don’t do it alone.

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