The incidence of cutaneous melanoma, an important global public health problem, has been increasing over the last several decades.
In order to decrease melanoma-related mortality, ways to communicate and implement the correct methods for conducting primary and secondary prevention measures (such as early detection via self-examination) should be investigated.
An observational, cross-sectional, retrospective study consisting of 409 patients diagnosed with cutaneous melanoma was conducted. An online questionnaire was created to evaluate knowledge levels, attitudes, and adherence to primary preventive measures and to skin self-examination practices.
The results revealed that even when 43% of the patients perform cutaneous self-examinations, only half of them fully followed the recommendations. Patients aged <45 years, female, with a I-II phototype, with an intermediate/high level of education, and with a history of NMSC were more likely to have an adequate degree of knowledge. Moreover, patients aged <45 years and with an adequate degree of knowledge more frequently showed an adequate adherence to the primary prevention measures. Finally, patients aged 45-60 years and with an adequate degree of knowledge presented a good adherence to the self-skin examination measures.
Possible limitations of this study were memory bias through the influence of age within the study population, and bias due to a greater proportion of subjects with a high education level.
Within the population of patients with melanoma, a high percentage of patients do not rigorously follow the recommended prevention measures. Our study highlights the need to implement awareness in this population to improve the prevention of cutaneous cancer.